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Oñate monument shooter delays sentencing to November


Oñate monument shooter delays sentencing to November

Sep 07, 2023 | 7:05 am ET
By Austin Fisher
Oñate monument shooter delays sentencing to November
Protesters tell Steven Ray Baca (blue shirt) to leave moments before he harmed three protesters and shot a fourth on June 15, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Griswold / Source NM)

The 2020 Oñate monument shooter will get to experience at least one more New Mexico autumn before he faces any accountability from the criminal legal system.

Video taken on June 15, 2020 shows Steven Ray Baca pushing a woman from behind to the ground, injuring her legs; macing a man in the face; pushing a second woman to the ground, injuring her head; and finally shooting a second man four times in the back at close range with a .40-caliber handgun.

The shooting ended a protest on that day at the statue called La Jornada that depicts Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate across from Tiguex Park in Albuquerque’s Old Town neighborhood.

Baca, 34, was supposed to appear in court in downtown Albuquerque on Wednesday to receive his sentence from Second Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless. The judge could have put him in prison for almost two years, the maximum sentence under the plea deal Baca made in June 2023.

Over the long Labor Day weekend, Baca’s attorneys managed to convince Loveless to delay the sentencing hearing until Nov. 1.

Through his attorneys Jason Bowles and Diego Esquibel, Baca on Sunday asked the court to push the hearing back.

His defense team wrote that it had not received a “probation report,” and he “needs additional time to gather additional character letters.”

David Foster, the special prosecutor assigned to the case by Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman, took no position on Baca’s request.

Citing Foster’s lack of a position, Judge Loveless on Monday granted Baca’s request.

Baca has a pending plea deal with Foster which could result in probation, or land him in prison for two years minus one day.

His plea agreement dropped the charge of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm for the shooting. He pleaded no contest to aggravated battery, and pleaded guilty to battery and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.

Source New Mexico’s National Editor Marisa Demarco did not assign, discuss or edit this story due to a conflict-of-interest concern.