The sixth individual charged for his alleged role in connection with the destruction of the obelisk in the Plaza was arraigned Tuesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.
Local gallery owner Stephen Fox, 72, was allowed to stay out of jail on an unsecured bond of $2,500 during a hearing in front of Magistrate George Anaya Jr. on Tuesday morning.
Fox’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23. He faces two fourth-degree felony charges of criminal damage to property over $1,000 and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property over $1,000.
He also is charged with unlawful assembly, a petty misdemeanor.
Fox, who appeared by telephone, faces up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
On Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American activists and their allies used rope and chain to pull down the 152-year-old Soldiers’ Monument following three days of protest on the Plaza. Erected to honor Union Civil War soldiers, the obelisk was long decried by activists as a symbol of racism due to a plaque at its base referring to “savage Indians.”
Fox has said he does not deny pulling the rope that ultimately destroyed the obelisk, and he has said he believes Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber wanted the obelisk pulled down due to previous statements surrounding the controversial monument.
Fox sent a letter addressed to Anaya, Webber and Santa Fe police Chief Andrew Padilla on Nov. 25, seeking an “amicable” resolution to the case. In the letter, Fox appeared to admit to helping pull down the obelisk.
“When one of the forty or so activists handed me the rope, I gladly accepted, having been a native American art dealer for the past 40 years,” Fox wrote in the letter. “When they pulled, I pulled and that was that.”
Anaya admonished Fox for the letter Tuesday, calling the communication “inappropriate.”
“The court did not read that communication, and the court will not read that communication,” Anaya said. “It is not the court’s place to read it.”
“Oh, he has been advised,” Roderick T. Kennedy, Fox’s defense attorney, said in response.
Fox previously had said he intended to represent himself in the case.
Five other individuals face similar charges.
Lily Sage Schweitzer, 33, and Ryan Witt, 29, were the first two people arraigned, on Nov. 19, and were also released on unsecured bonds. Witt is listed as a Maryland resident, and Schweitzer is listed as being from Philadelphia.
Local tattoo artist Dawn Furlong was arraigned a day later and also was released on an unsecured bond.
Melissa Rose, a 44-year-old local Native American midwife, and her daughter Lauren Straily, 28, were arraigned Nov. 24 and released without bond.
Witt, Straily, Furlong and Rose also face unauthorized graffiti charges.
A seventh suspect, the first to have his image circulated in connection with the obelisk’s destruction, has not been identified or charged.