Child sex assault trial moved to January

By Eamon Scarbrough

PORTALES — The trial date for a former Portales man accused of child molestation has been moved to January after a hearing Tuesday in Portales district court.

Rocky Banda, 35, is charged with multiple counts of sexual penetration of a minor, having allegedly molested a teenage girl over the course of several years.

After finding that a motion for a more definitive statement on the timeline in which the alleged crimes took place had been answered by the state, Ninth Judicial District Judge Donna Mowrer rescheduled Banda’s trial date.

Mowrer told Banda during the hearing that the court was concerned that Banda — who is representing himself — was not yet ready for trial, despite indicating in October that he was prepared.

“At this point, I’m going to continue this trial. Time will count against you, because you’re the one telling me you’re not ready,” Mowrer said.

As part of the reason he was not prepared for trial, Banda said he had not been able to access CDs of information from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Deputy Chief District Attorney Brian Stover told Mowrer that a person has to have a certain type of software to access the information. Mowrer provided Banda with instructions on how to access the software.

“You’re looking at a timeline of nine months. Give me a month: February, March, December. These allegations are serious. All I’ve asked is to provide me with something. You were able to make the allegations; you were able to file the charges. All I’m asking is for something better than this,” Banda said of the alleged timelines.

In establishing a timeline, Stover said the state established six separate counts of sexual penetration of a minor 13 to 18 years old in four different time spans and addresses: October 2011-October 2012 in Dora, October 2012-July 2013 in Portales, July 2013-September 2013 on New Mexico 480 and October 2013-February 2016 in Portales.

To prove the state had made an effort to narrow the time frame and location of Banda’s charges, Stover presented several factors his office followed: The course of conduct of the offenses, the intelligence of victims and witnesses and their ability to particularize events and the frequency of offenses.

According to Stover, the state “has narrowed the charging as close and as tightly as it can.”

Banda’s trial is set for Jan. 26-27.