Murder suspect granted $250,000 bond

Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 12:45 AM

A Cortez woman facing second-degree murder charges was given a $250,000 cash-only bond Monday, Oct. 21.

District Attorney Will Furse requested a $500,000 cash-only bond at a bail hearing Monday morning, citing the defendant, 38-year-old Valerie Espinoza, “posed a real risk to the community.” Furse argued that Espinoza had a long criminal history, was wanted on an outstanding warrant at the time of the incident, reportedly used methamphetamines and marijuana and had failed to appear in court on numerous occasions in the past.

“The defendant is homeless, so she can’t be tracked or supervised,” Furse said. “She also previously stabbed the victim in the hand with a ball point pen.”

A Montezuma County grand jury indicted Espinoza on second-degree murder charges earlier this month in connection to the stabbing death of 62-year-old Charles Chaves inside his S. Madison Street home on Sept. 19. Reports show the victim was stabbed seven times in his upper torso with a butcher knife during an early-morning attack.

Public defender Amy Smith requested her client be given a $50,000 cash or surety bond, arguing Espinoza was indigent and unable to make a $500,000 cash bond.

District Court Judge Todd Plewe sided with the prosecution in setting a $250,000 cash-only bond, stating he believed Espinoza was a “serious flight risk.”

“I find the high cash-only bond is appropriate,” he said.

If convicted on the Class 2 felony of second-degree murder, Espinoza faces an eight- to 24-year prison term.

Court records reveal a roommate discovered the victim on the night in question lying on his bed “gasping for air.” The roommate told police that he recovered a bloody butcher knife from the defendant before she left the scene.