Cops & Courts 11/2

The man accused of a crime spree through Fort Sumner, Melrose, and Portales didn’t have his preliminary hearing on Tuesday in the De Baca County Magistrate Court, as had been scheduled.
John C. Cates, 19, is being held in the De Baca County jail on a $360,000 bond facing 37 charges including kidnapping, aggravated burglary, criminal sexual contact, assault with intent to commit a violent felony, false imprisonment, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and allowing himself to be served alcohol as a minor. All the charges stem from a series of armed robberies and two carjackings Oct. 12.
According to Tenth Judicial District Attorney Ron Reeves, Cates is currently undergoing psychological evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. No date has yet been set for a rescheduled preliminary hearing, and Reeves said he doesn’t expect to have a mental competence evaluation for one to two months.
“If it comes back that he’s not competent there is a whole can of worms that would have to be opened up and examined,” Reeves said.
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The Clovis Fire Department has announced two new hires and two promotions.
Brad Nance and Reed Wheeler, both hired in October, are the department’s newest probationary firefighters. Nance comes to Clovis from state park service, was initially trained in the Portales Fire Department, and has a paramedic certification. Clovis will be Wheeler’s first firefighting job, but Clovis Fire Chief Ron Edwards said he’s energetic and enthusiastic.
“He’s been wanting to be a firefighter all his life,” Edward said. “That’s the kind of person we want.”
Edwards said the department also promoted Jerry Martin and Mike Nolan to the rank of lieutenant. Both were previously driver/operators with the department.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ staff writer Darrell Todd Maurina. He can be contacted at 763-6991 or: