ALAMOSA — District Judge Michael Gonzales on Friday reduced the bond for Perry Hotz, 20, who is charged with murder in connection with his 5-month-old daughter’s death last year.
Hotz, who pleaded not guilty through his legal counsel on Friday, has remained in custody on a $500,000 bond. After hearing arguments from Hotz’s attorneys that the bond should be reduced to $25,000 and arguments from the district attorney’s office that it should not, Judge Gonzales reduced the bond to $250,000. If Hotz is able to make bond, he would be placed on pre-trial tracking with intensive supervision and GPS monitor.
Judge Gonzales has set aside three weeks beginning on February 12 for Hotz’s trial. Extensive witness testimony is anticipated on both sides, which is why the trial is expected to last up to three weeks. For example, Hotz’s attorneys plan to bring in experts from outside of the state to testify that the child’s fatal injuries were the result of a tragic accident, not the result of intentional child abuse, as charged.
Judge Gonzales warned the attorneys on Friday that he wanted witnesses lined up so that there would not be gaps during the trial when the jury would have to wait for the next witness. The judge said the court would be asking a great deal of any potential jury to spend two or three weeks of their time away from families and work to hear this case, so he would not tolerate any idle waste of the jury’s time.
Defense attorneys said they would begin lining up their witnesses now.
Hotz’s attorneys told the judge they did not know if Hotz or his family could meet the $25,000 bond they were requesting, but if he were released on bond Hotz would have a place to stay, either with his mother or father, and a job with his former employer.
During the bond hearing on Friday Hotz’s mother Vivian Hotz testified about the extent of Perry Hotz’s family ties to the area and said if her son was released on bond he could stay with her in Hooper and she would help make sure he attended all his court hearings. Perry Hotz’s father Paul Rausch also testified that his son could stay with him in Mosca if released on bond.
Perry Hotz’s boss Michael Sundeen said Hotz could come back to work for him in Hooper if released on bond.
On the other hand, Alamosa Police Officer John Vasquez testified about the circumstances of Hotz’s arrest last October when he said Hotz tried to get in his truck and get away when he was told he was under arrest and needed to stop. Hotz was ultimately tazed before being taken into custody, Vasquez testified.
Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Ashley Paige Fetyko argued against a reduced bond because of the seriousness of this case and in the interest of public safety. She referred to an alleged sexual assault case against Hotz when he was a juvenile as part of her argument concerning public safety. Hotz was adjudicated as a juvenile in the 2012 case, and it is no longer on his record.
Fetyko added that the child’s mother in this case was strongly against a reduced or modified bond. She added that the $500,000 bond was similar to bonds in other murder cases in this jurisdiction.
Judge Gonzales said while it was clear that Perry Hotz had a great deal of family and community support, he also had to take into account the serious charge and potential penalty of life in prison if Hotz is convicted.
“That’s a significant factor,” he said.
The judge said he believed $500,000 was a bit excessive but he was not going to reduce the bond to the requested $25,000 either. He said $250,000 was sufficient, taking all factors into consideration.
The judge scheduled another motions hearing for October 20 to hear outstanding motions including a defense motion to suppress testimony.