A judge dismissed all charges against three of the five "extremist Muslims" connected to the New Mexico compound case on Wednesday, multiple sources are reporting in a breaking story.
After his prosecutors missed a critical deadline in five high-profile child abuse cases dropped Wednesday (Aug. 29) in Taos District Court, 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos issued a statement defending his office and assuring the public the cases will be reopened.
District Judge Emilio Chavez ruled authorities violated New Mexico's "10-day rule", a 10-day limit for a hearing to establish probable cause.
Lucas Allen Morton, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, were released from jail after the ruling, while two others, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, and his wife, Jany Leveille, 35, remain held on additional charges filed August 24 in the death of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
Prosecutors could still try to pursue charges by seeking an indictment from a grand jury.
Prosecutors had pressed for continued incarceration and planned to present new evidence of an anti-government plot and talk of jihad and martyrdom among some members of the extended Muslim family that settled at the compound last winter.
Meanwhile, the father of a toddler found dead at the compound and his partner pleaded not guilty to new charges of child abuse resulting in death the same day. Children told authorities that the young boy had died in February after being denied his medicine and subjected to freakish religious rituals.
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"I would have thought they'd be more on top of things, the way they continued to seek to hold them without bond".
Ibn Wahhaj and Laveille, who were members of the compound, remain in custody facing separate charges for taking the brain-damaged toddler from his biological mother in Georgia and allegedly causing his death on December 24 by denying him anti-seizure medicine. Jany Leveille is originally from Haiti and faces charges that she overstayed her non-immigrant visa when she visited the United States over twenty years ago.
In the case of the other three defendants, a judge ruled they could be released as early as Wednesday depending on what action prosecutors take.
Thomas Clark, the attorney for Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, said court filings against his client have unfairly delved into accusations unrelated to charges of child abuse or neglect. Forensic medical investigators have not identified the cause and manner of the boy's death as they continue their analysis.
The boy's mother initially reported the boy missing past year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn't return.
According to court documents, prosecutors believed that if the defendants were to be released, "There is a substantial likelihood defendant may commit new crimes due to his planning and preparation for future school shootings".