Joshua Panas
August 15, 2018 01:03 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A written order from State District Judge Sarah Backus explains why she denied a motion to hold the five adults who were arrested after a raid on their northern New Mexico compound in jail until their trial.

Judge Backus explains that prosecutors failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that showed the defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Lucas Morton, Jany Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj, are a danger to the community.

In the order, Judge Backus says the state is only charging the adults with child abuse at this time and the children have been removed from their custody. Judge Backus notes that the defendants are not charged with child abuse resulting in death, there are no weapons charges and there are no charges regarding any actual threats of terrorism.

Judge Backus says that the state alleged the defendants were teaching the children to participate in school shootings but provided no evidence to support the claim. She invited the state to provide evidence in a supplemental motion.

Judge Backus also noted that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the father of the 3-year-old boy whose remains are believed to have been discovered at the compound, was not going to be released from jail on account of her ruling. She states that Wahhaj was still being held on a detainer from Georgia, where he’s accused of abducting the boy before bringing him to New Mexico.

The conditions of release state 13 items the defendants must adhere to while awaiting trial. They include posting a $20,000 appearance bond, house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor and no contact with the children except for supervised contact at the discretion of CYFD.

Read Judge Backus’ full written order here. 


Joshua Panas
August 15, 2018 01:11 PM

** TAOS, CO., NM – Eighth Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos plans on appealing a judge’s ruling, which allows the suspects arrested at a northern New Mexico compound to be released on bond.

On Monday, Judge Sarah Backus denied the state’s motion to keep the five suspects in jail, saying the state failed to meet the burden of showing the suspects were a danger to the community.

The judge has faced intense criticism for the decision. The Taos County District Courthouse was evacuated Tuesday after what was described a “credible threat” made against Judge Backus.