Father of boy found dead in New Mexico compound pleads not guilty

Judge dismisses all charges against 3 in New Mexico compound case

The judge said Wednesday that it was a very hard decision for him to drop the charges.

Judge Emilio Chavez ruled Wednesday that he had no discretion to keep the three defendants in custody since prosecutors missed a 10-day limit for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause for the neglect charges.

Chavez ruled that the other three defendants could be released as early as Wednesday depending on what action prosecutors take.

"It's hard I'm sure for the public to understand why this has to happen this way", Chavez said on Wednesday. People may disagree over what constitutes dangerousness in any given case, and the district attorney can appeal the judge's decision.

Authorities are pushing ahead with other charges filed against the dead boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille.

According to court documents, prosecutors believed that if the defendants were to be released, "There is a substantial likelihood defendant may commit new crimes due to his planning and preparation for future school shootings". Along with the eleven children found living at the compound in squalor, police discovered the body of a three year old who had gone missing and died in the care of the suspects.

Lucas Allen Morton, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, were released from jail after the ruling, while two others, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, and his wife, Jany Leveille, 35, remain held on additional charges filed August 24 in the death of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Taos-based District Attorney Donald Gallegos announced on social media Thursday that his office will refile charges or take the case to a grand jury.

The two suspects are accused of neglecting to provide proper medicine and health care to the boy, and other children from the compound allegedly told police that he was subjected to rituals to cast out demons.

Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.

Reports indicate that the District Attorney's office did not even have a prosecutor I attendance for the court hearing.

Law enforcement seized a document from the compound called "Phases of a Terrorist Attack", which included ambiguous instructions for "the one-time terrorist" and "the ideal attack site".

The Taos County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj left the jail late Wednesday afternoon. Each of the five adults faced 11 charges of child abuse. Forensic medical investigators have not yet identified the cause and manner of the boy's death.

Authorities discovered the compound - located in Amalia, near the Colorado border - while searching for Wahhaj and his disabled son, who was believed to have been kidnapped by Wahhaj from Georgia a year ago.



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