A man accused of shooting his neighbor two weeks ago in Los Chavez pleaded not guilty to all charges Wednesday at an arraignment hearing.
Gerald Mirabal, 38, was indicted last week on two counts of attempted murder, one count of shooting at or from a motor vehicle and one count of eluding a police officer.
District Court Judge John Pope set Mirabal’s bond at $250,000 cash or surety.
Mirabal is charged with shooting his neighbor, Al Urtiaga, 42, on Sept. 3 when Urtiaga drove into his yard. Mirabal is also accused of shooting at Urtiaga’s friend, Joe Silva, who was standing next to the truck when shots were fired.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Lopez requested that Pope set Mirabal’s bond at $500,000, citing the severity of the crime.
Lopez said Mirabal is charged with firing a .22 semi-automatic rifle at his neighbor, Alfred Urtiaga.
“Mr. (Alfred) Urtiaga is out of the hospital now, but due to the weight of everything, he is still experiencing severe reactions to his injury.”
Lopez also argued that Mirabal was a “definite flight risk.”
Mirabal’s attorney, Thomas Esquibel, argued that his client wasn’t a flight risk and asked that the judge release Mirabal on a reasonable property bond.
“Mr. Mirabal is a longtime resident of Valencia County and has been married for 18 years with three children,” Esquibel said. “He is not a flight risk.”
Esquibel alleged that Urtiaga had discharged firearms at the Mirabals.
The Los Lunas attorney told Pope that Mirabal had just purchased a new home and that he would have no contact with Urtiaga or any other witnesses if he was allowed out of jail.
“He’s not a danger to Urtiaga or any witness in this case,” Esquibel said.
According to Valencia County Sheriff’s Detective Rene Rivera, Urtiaga is believed to have driven up to his house on NM 314 when someone began shooting. As soon as the gunfire began, Silva ran towards the back of the truck.
Urtiaga managed to exit the vehicle through the passenger side door and ran inside to retrieve his own weapon and returned gunfire.
Police charge that, after Urtiaga was shot, Mirabal left the scene and was arrested the next morning after a high-speed chase that began in Albuquerque and ended in Los Lunas.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.