Serving the High Plains

Second dog-attack suspect bound over for trial

The second suspect charged in a fatal dog attack in Tucumcari recently waived his right to a preliminary hearing last week and was bound over for trial.

Kristopher Jaquaris Morris, 27, of Tucumcari, on May 4 waived his right for a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday. He is being represented by public defender Brett Phelps of Las Vegas.

After the filing of the waiver, Magistrate Judge Noreen Hendrickson transferred Morris’ case to district court, according to online court documents.

Phelps and District Attorney Timothy Rose also filed a request for an arraignment on or before May 24.

No trial date or future hearing has been scheduled.

Morris and his mother, Mary Olimpia Montoya, 51, also of Tucumcari, are charged with prohibited acts (dangerous dog; death of a person) and involuntary manslaughter (negligent act), both felonies.

The dangerous-dog charge, the most serious, is a third-degree felony that could lead up to six years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine.

Each was charged in the Feb. 1 death of Stanley Hartt, 64, of Tucumcari, who was attacked and killed by five dogs while walking near Gamble Avenue and South 11th Street. Hartt’s body was found with bite marks, and animals appeared to have eaten away parts of his legs.

One of the dogs was euthanized by officers near the scene. The other dogs remain impounded at the city animal shelter.

Montoya and Morris were freed a few days after their arrests on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond, which means they must pay that amount if they don’t meet the terms of their release.

Montoya and Morris are barred from having any contact with dogs or have animals on their property, cannot return to the scene of the attack, cannot consume alcohol, cannabis or illegal drugs, submit to drug and alcohol testing, cannot leave the county without court permission and must maintain contact with their attorneys.