Tuesday, June 07, 2005


On June 7, 1967, Reies Lopez Tijerina led a raid on the Tierra Amarilla (Rio Arriba County) courthouse. Eulogio Salazar, a Deputy Sheriff, tried to go out of the window of the Sheriff's office, located at the front (North end) of the courthouse. As Deputy Salazar was going through the window, Mr. Tijerina shot Salazar through the jaw. Tijerina was convicted by a jury of assault with intent to kill Salazar, and Garnett Burks, Sr., District Judge, sentenced Tijerina to a term of not less than two nor more than ten years. Mr. Tijerina never served his time, because he was pardoned by Governor Jerry Apodaca. [CORRECTED in June 29, 2007 post. jack love].
The first shot that was fired during the courthouse raid, was fired by Juan Valdez, one of the followers of Reis Tijerina. Mr. Valdez shot Nick Saiz, a State policeman, who was on duty in the lobby of the courthouse. Mr. Valdez was convicted by a jury of assault with intent to kill Officer Saiz (Saiz' lung collapsed, and when he recovered, Saiz' left arm was permanently crippled). Judge Burks sentenced Juan Valdez to 2-10 years. Valdez did not serve any of his sentence, because he was pardoned by Governor Bruce King.

Baltazar Apodaca was declared incompetent to stand trial. Baltazar Martinez was found by a jury to be not guilty by reason of insanity. Thus ended the prosecutions of the alleged raiders of the Tierra Amarilla courthouse raid. This post was prompted by articles this week in the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune regarding the dedication of Reis Lopez Tijerina's papers to the archives of the UNM library.

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