Serving the High Plains

Shooting suspect bound over for trial

A Tucumcari man accused of shooting another man at an apartment complex in December was bound over for trial after his arraignment Wednesday.

George J. Olguin, 61, is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (great bodily harm), tampering with evidence, trafficking controlled substances and receiving stolen property — all felony counts.

The drug trafficking count, the most serious, is a second-degree felony that can lead up to nine years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Public defender Brett Phelps of Las Vegas on Wednesday waived a formal reading of charges against Olguin and entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf during the arraignment.

District Judge Fred Van Soelen bound Olguin over for trial, which likely will be presided over by formerly retired judge James Waylon Counts.

Van Soelen, who hails from the 9th Judicial District, presided over the case Wednesday after the early retirement the previous week of 10th Judicial District Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr. Counts, who was a judge in Alamogordo, has been assigned by the New Mexico Supreme Court to hear cases in Mitchell’s district.

Olguin appeared during the hearing by video from the De Baca County Jail. Olguin has been detained since his arrest. He did not speak during the hearing.

Olguin is accused of shooting Joshua Neal of Tucumcari in the abdomen during a dispute at Olguin’s apartment.

While executing a search warrant of Olguin’s apartment, a police officer found a clear plastic tube with 150 pills identified as fentanyl. Another officer also found coins he identified from a burglary.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Phelps said Olguin is suffering from a hernia that will require surgery.

Deputy district attorney Heidi Adams requested that Olguin remain in jail without bond. However, she said her office will finalize a furlough schedule so Olguin can undergo his surgery.

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