Alleged downtown mugger gets bond reduced

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Lester Padilla (photo courtesy Santa Fe County jail)

A man police say mugged tourists in downtown Santa Fe at gunpoint had his bond reduced on Monday while he awaits trial.

Lester Padilla, 38, 4713 Via Verde Court, faces three second-degree felony counts of armed robbery and two fourth-degree felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for what Santa Fe police say were a pair of downtown muggings in January.

Padilla has been incarcerated in the Santa Fe County jail on a $200,000 cash bond since Jan. 24. Public defender Elena Cardona asked Monday that the bond be reduced to a $10,000 surety bond.

“It is my understanding no gun was recovered,” Cardona said, while also entering a not-guilty plea on her client’s behalf.

Assistant District Attorney Charles Baldonado asked that the bond remain at $200,000.

Instead, state District Judge Stephen Pfeffer reduced Padilla’s bond to a $50,000 surety bond. He also ordered him to submit to random drug tests and be on GPS monitoring if he’s able to post the bond, which he hadn’t done as of Monday afternoon.

Police say Padilla drew a handgun on a group of people near the corner of West San Francisco and Sandoval streets at 1:22 a.m. on Jan. 19 and stole a purse before fleeing. That was about eight days after police say Padilla stole two women’s purses, cellphones and jewelry at gunpoint from two women in a parking lot on the northeast side of the Capitol after the women left a nearby restaurant.

Padilla has a history of violent crime, according to police that includes similar allegations in the past.

Pfeffer asked Padilla if he worked, to which the defendant said he did. Asked what work he did, Padilla said he works with his brother’s landscaping company. A skeptical jusge told Padilla he had to find a “legitimate” job while out on release.

As of Tuesday morning, Padilla had not yet posted bond according to jail records.

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