Evidence mishandling leads to dismissal in trapping case

Roxy, an 8-year-old heeler mix owned by Dave Clark of Española, died in 2018 after being strangled by a trap at Santa Cruz Lake. Marty Cordova of Chimayó was acquitted Wednesday of all charges related to the dog’s death.

The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has dropped more than 30 counts of illegal trapping against a Chimayó man after a Magistrate Court judge found the state Game and Fish Department had failed to serve the man with a search warrant and then failed to save evidence needed to prosecute him.

Santa Fe County Magistrate Donita Sena excluded the missing evidence from the case, leading Assistant District Attorney Allison Schumacher Smithkier to write in a motion Oct. 4, “Without this evidence the State cannot prove this case. Therefore, the State dismisses this case without prejudice based upon the suppression of evidence.”

The case began in February after Game and Fish officers charged Marty Cordova with setting an illegal snare trap at Santa Cruz Lake that killed an 8-year-old heeler mix owned by Dave Clark of Española. The death of the dog, Roxy, gained media attention and prompted the introduction of an anti-trapping measure nicknamed “Roxy’s Law” in the 2019 legislative session. The bill didn’t pass.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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