Northern Rio Arriba Electric Co-operative General Manager Abran Romero will be spending the foreseeable future behind bars after First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard ruled Tuesday he was too dangerous to be released into the community.
Romero was arrested by New Mexico State Police after a standoff at his ex-fiancée’s home Aug. 17 in Velarde.
He was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated burglary involving a firearm and negligent use of a deadly weapon.
A grand jury indicted Romero Aug. 29 for the same charges.
Romero allegedly followed, harassed and threatened Carla Gasca, who testified in court Tuesday.
She said she had decided to end her relationship with Romero until he sought treatment for his alcohol and illegal drug use. Gasca said Romero used cocaine. She said after she told him she wanted to end the relationship, he became upset.
For a period of almost three days, Gasca said Romero stalked, harassed and threatened her, all while intermittently trying to woo her.
He allegedly sent flowers to her work and insisted the two of them go to dinner one last time together.
She said Romero was intoxicated throughout the incident.
Romero allegedly texted Gasca almost constantly despite her repeatedly telling him to leave her alone.
“He was just constantly texting me,” Gasca said.
She said he went to her house, slept in his car in the yard when she refused to let him inside, and parked at the end of her driveway watching her.
He also allegedly followed her on her way home from work, until Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted a traffic stop.
Romero did not stop for deputies, court documents show, and he is charged with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, careless driving and failing to obey traffic signals in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court. Romero is set to be arraigned Sept. 6 in that case.
Court documents show Romero was allegedly driving his Co-op vehicle during the chase.
Gasca said Romero called her at some point after the chase and asked her if she had called them.
“He said, ‘If you called the cops it’s OK if you felt unsafe, but no cops are ever going to stop me,’” Gasca said. “I was terrified, I’m still terrified.”
The afternoon of Aug. 17, Romero allegedly sent a video to Gasca, of him inside her house. State Police responded and went inside the home where Romero allegedly threatened to shoot them.
Martin told the court Romero showed obsessive behavior, compounded by intoxication and there were no supervisory conditions outside of jail that would be able to protect Gasca and her children.
Española-based attorney Sheri Raphaelson, who represents Romero, asked the court to place him on house arrest at his ranch near Las Vegas. She said the distance would ensure Gasca and her family remained safe.
Lidyard ruled house arrest would not be an option for Romero because he had “fixated” on Gasca and demonstrated possessive and controlling behavior. He said Romero’s repeated return to Gasca’s home, and barrage of text messages made clear that he felt that he could control Gasca and do whatever he wanted.
“Lesser conditions than detention are certainly insufficient,” Lidyard said.
Romero will remain in custody until his trial.
He is still listed on the Co-op website as General Manager.