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Seeds '16 Campaign Worker Sentenced for Election Fraud

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dyon herrera sentencing laura seeds voter fraud

Dyon Herrera’s (left) attorney Paul Mannick (center) agreed with Assistant Attorney General Peter Valencia (right) that Herrera’s forthrightness at Laura Seeds’ November election fraud trial went beyond his obligations under his plea deal.

Laura Seeds’ co-conspirator turned state’s witness Dyon Herrera received an 18-month deferred sentence on probation for his participation in election fraud in Robert Seeds’ 2016 campaign for the District 4 Española City Council seat.

If Herrera serves his probation without incident, he could see his guilty plea to conspiracy to violate the municipal election code wiped from his record.

In November, Laura Seeds was found guilty of five counts of felony voter fraud and was sentenced to six months house arrest.

After taking a plea deal in October, Herrera admitted to forging a voter’s signature on an absentee ballot and forging his grandparents’ signatures on absentee ballot applications—both at Seeds’ behest—and implicated her at trial in a number of other violations of the election code.

The voters in all incidents are believed to have supported Laura’s husband Robert Seeds.

Herrera said at his sentencing that at the time of his offense, he was grappling with the recent death of his father and a since-kicked opioid addiction. He said at trial that Laura Seeds promised him a job at city hall if Robert won the election.

Both Assistant Attorney General Peter Valencia and defense attorney Paul Mannick praised Herrera’s openness with information after the plea deal and moral responsibility for his actions.

“The one thing that distinguishes him between (Seeds) in the state’s perspective, your honor, is (Herrera) has accepted responsibility to a felony in this case by pleading guilty,” Valencia said. “He hasn’t held back any information, even information that could be detrimental to him.”

Herrera was not eligible for a conditional discharge in the voter fraud case because he received one in a 2016 aggravated assault charge in which he allegedly brandished a pistol in a road rage incident.

Mannick said Herrera’s life has turned around sharply since the start of the case.

“When (Herrera) came clean to Mr. Valencia, I never saw anything like the kind of relief that spread across his face—his entire demeanor changed and when we walked out, he was a different person because he had the opportunity to tell the truth,” Mannick said. “He is now completely trusted. There are no drugs as part of his life any longer. There is no crime as part of his life any longer. He is a different person in many, many ways, than he was when he was that 20-year-old kid.”

Herrera said he is a contributing member of society now who works and attends church, and does not want to be held back by a felony conviction on his record.

“What I did was a very foolish, naive thing,” he said. “I can’t go back in time. I just, I want to move forward with my life. I want to do good. I want to raise a family.”

Robert Seeds beat opponent Cory Lewis by just two votes in 2016. Jury selection for Laura Seeds’ trial for voter intimidation in relation to her husband’s unsuccessful 2018 bid for Española mayor is set for June.

Herrera declined to comment on the sentence outside the courtroom.

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