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Three suspects plead not guilty in N.M. gay bashing

Three suspects plead not guilty in N.M. gay bashing

Three people have pleaded not guilty to charges in what police have described as an attack on a gay man at a motel in Santa Fe, N.M. James Maestas, 21, remained hospitalized Wednesday with injuries from being beaten unconscious Sunday. His family has requested that no information about his condition be made public. A second victim, Joshua Stockham, 24, of Albuquerque, was treated and released. Santa Fe County magistrate George Anaya Jr. entered the pleas Tuesday on behalf of Gabriel Maturin, 20 and Isaia Medina, 19, at their arraignment on charges of aggravated battery, battery, and conspiracy. Bond was set at $100,000 each. An attorney for David Trinidad, 17, also of Santa Fe, entered a not guilty plea for him at his arraignment Tuesday, which was held in children's court because he is a juvenile. Trinidad faces two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of conspiracy, and one count of criminal damage to property. Children's court judge Barbara Vigil ordered that he remain in custody, which his attorney, Mark Dickson, did not contest. Trinidad currently is on probation for raping a 4 1/2-year-old boy, Asst. Dist. Atty. Heidi Pircher has said. Pircher said she plans to seek adult sanctions against Trinidad. According to court records, a group of men confronted Stockham and Maestas outside a restaurant where they had been eating with female friends. Members of the group began calling them names, trying to provoke a fight. Trinidad, who had waited on the men, joined the group as Stockham, Maestas, and their friends drove away. Trinidad had overheard where they were staying, and the group went to that motel. Maturin and Medina attacked Maestas while Trinidad and another man hit Stockham, records state. The beating stopped when Maestas appeared to be unconscious, police said. Police said two of the men did not participate in the beating. New Mexico's 2003 hate-crimes law allows an extra year to be added to a sentence when a jury decides a hate crime has occurred. "As a society, we feel stronger toward a crime that is based on the characteristics of a person," Dist. Atty. Henry Valdez said. "If the crime was committed based on the class of the victim"--defined by, for instance, gender, race, or sexual orientation--"then you can seek the enhancement." (AP)

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