Ex-state cop, Gov. Richardson security guard back in court in vehicular homicide case

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Alfred Lovato, the former state police sergeant riding in Carlos Fierro's passenger seat when he struck and killed a man in 2008, was back in court Friday as he now faces criminal charges in that case. (File photo by Jane Phillips/The New Mexican)

Alfred Lovato was back in court Friday.

The former state cop who was a member of former Gov. Bill Richardson’s security detail, was a passenger in the car driven by attorney Carlos Fierro, who has been convicted of vehicular homicide for being drunk and driving his car into William Tenorio in downtown Santa Fe in 2008.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals in March overturned a decision to dismiss criminal charges against Lovato — a decision made by State District Judge Michael Vigil. The Court of Appeals ruling essentially established Lovato, despite not being the driver, can face criminal charges.

Lovato, who learned he could face trial in November — his jury selection has been scheduled for Nov. 15 with a specific trial date note yet set — was originally charged with being a party to a crime and of vehicular homicide.

“My client was simply a passenger in a vehicle where there was a terrible accident,” Albuquerque-based attorney Sam Bregman told The New Mexican in May after the state Supreme Court refused to hear the Lovato appeal. “My client did not commit vehicular homicide.”

Friday, alongside the usually outspoken Bregman, Lovato dawned a dark suit and stood in silence as Vigil and attorneys set upcoming court dates. Bregman said he still needs more evidence disclosed from the state and will also have to interview all the witnesses from the case before going to trial.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, whose special DWI prosecutor Donna Bevacqua-Young is prosecuting the case for the state, has said Lovato’s “accessory liability” in the death of Tenorio warrants criminal charges.

Fierro was convicted of vehicular homicide in 2009 and is incarcerated in the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas.

Police said Fierro, after a night of drinking in Santa Fe bars with Lovato, had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when his car hit Tenorio, 46, of San Felipe Pueblo as Tenorio crossed Guadalupe Street in front of the now-defunct WilLee’s Blues Club on Nov. 26, 2008.

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