Home Depot robbery suspects appear in court

·3 min read

Sep. 15—Legal proceedings in the cases against Jesus Gonzalez and Chrystyne Sanchez began Thursday in state court, three days after Gonzalez was accused of armed robbery at Santa Fe's Home Depot and leading police on two vehicle pursuits.

Following their first video appearances before First District Court Judge T. Glenn Ellington, Gonzalez and Sanchez were both scheduled for a joint pretrial detention hearing to be held Wednesday. Both are being held in Santa Fe County jail pending the hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said Sanchez — who is accused of driving in Monday's second vehicle pursuit — is facing zero to 8 and a half years in prison, and a $21,000 fine based on four felony charges and one misdemeanor his office plans to file in District Court.

He said Sanchez will be charged with aggravated battery on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, tampering with evidence of a fourth-degree felony and a misdemeanor charge of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

Santa Fe police say Gonzalez stole a generator from Home Depot with another man early Monday, brandishing a handgun at a Home Depot employee on the way out and then fleeing from police in an SUV. He was arrested downtown late Monday afternoon following the second chase in which the SUV collided with an officer's cruiser, police said. The pursuit ended at Guadalupe and West De Vargas streets, prompting a brief shelter-in-place advisory.

Police are still looking to identify the second suspect in the robbery, said Deputy Chief Ben Valdez.

Thursday saw Ellington juggle two of Gonzalez's cases, one related to an active bench warrant for Gonzalez's arrest from September 2021 and another for the charges from Monday.

Court records show Gonzalez is facing a litany of charges stemming from residential burglaries he is accused of committing in October 2016. Gonzalez has since been accused of failing to show up to hearings — and failing to pay fees and fines related to the case — numerous times. Five bench warrants have been issued for Gonzalez's arrest since the 2016 burglaries, with court records showing active warrants from September and October 2021.

On Thursday, Ellington said Gonzalez is accused of allowing the battery for his court-issued GPS tracker to die, preventing the court from knowing his whereabouts and violating his conditions of release.

"You have the right to an evidentiary hearing where the state would have to put out evidence to prove these allegations," Ellington said.

The judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing through Google Meet on Sept. 23 to determine whether Gonzalez violated conditions of his release.

In addition to the charges he continues to face from a few years ago, Wahlquist said Gonzalez is facing three to 17 and a half years in prison and a $26,000 fine for charges relating to Monday's alleged robbery and vehicle pursuits.

Wahlquist said his office plans to file five charges against Gonzalez in District Court. These include armed robbery; conspiracy to commit felony shoplifting; aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle; and a misdemeanor charge of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

Gonzalez raised his hand to speak near the end of Thursday's proceedings, and told the court he had not been read his rights during his arrest.

Ellington told him Miranda warnings do not apply in all instances.

"It's not an automatic 'get out of jail free card,'" Ellington said. "It really only relates to certain types of evidence, and applies in certain situations."