Two #suspects #accused in #child abuse #death appear in #court

SANTA FE, N.M. — Two more suspects in the brutal beating death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia faced a judge Wednesday afternoon

Valencia’s mother and her boyfriend’s son appeared in court for their first hearing in the child abuse case that has shocked the state. Prosecutors plan to ask a judge to hold both suspects in jail while they await trial.

In court, both the prosecutors and the defense said the defense needs more time to prepare for a detention hearing on the matter. The judge agreed.

The teen’s mom, 35-year-old Tracy Ann Pena, sat quietly in the courtroom, speaking only to her defense attorney. Her boyfriend’s son, 19-year-old Jordan Nunez had his hearing next.

Both are accused of not doing anything to stop Thomas Ferguson from torturing and abusing Valencia. They’re also accused of helping Ferguson dispose of the body after police say he beat Valencia to death last November.

“This is obviously a serious matter. I need some time to prepare for it,” Pena’s defense attorney said in court. “I’ve received 31 disks today. I have six disks that I received two days ago. I started to listen to those and to watch those in preparation for the detention hearing, and I haven’t been able to get through a lot of them. I travel to other parts of the state so I haven’t had an opportunity to fully prepare for this and that’s really the basis for asking for the continuance.”

Ferguson, who is considered the main suspect in the case, was in court after prosecutors asked a judge to hold him without bond before his trial. A judge ordered him to remain in jail because he had an unrelated probation violation.

As for Pena and Nunez, they’ll both remain locked up until a judge can decide whether or not they’ll be given a bond. That should happen sometime after a grand jury hears the case on the Feb. 15.