TAOS, N. M. – Three people accused of child abuse at a ramshackle desert compound were awaiting the release Wednesday in New Mexico, where the security is strengthened at a district court in the middle of the threats against the judge who cleared the way for the suspects to leave the prison.
The ruling by district court judge Sarah Backus also led to a political uproar and a backlash on social media. Officials evacuated several administrative court offices Tuesday in Taos County as a precaution.
The offices reopened Wednesday, while the threats were investigated.
The decision to release the three of the five family members that is held in the case came despite the claims of prosecutors that the group was training children to use firearms for a anti-government mission and should remain in prison pending his trial.
In all, 11 children were taken into custody at the filthy house near the Colorado border, during an Aug. 3 raid by the authorities who returned three days later and recovered the body of a small boy.
Medical researchers have yet to determine conclusively whether the body found at the site outside Amalia was that of Abdul-ghani — the severely disabled missing son of compound resident Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. Other family members have said or told authorities that the remains are those of Abdul-ghani.
Wahhaj will remain in prison pending an arrest warrant against him issued in Georgia, where accusations that he kidnapped his son from the mother of the boy in December, and fled to New Mexico.
Another suspect, Jany Leveille, was transferred to the custody of federal immigration authorities, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe announced.
The 35-year-old native of Haiti is the mother of six children taken into state custody during the compound raid.
The defendants, Luke Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj were in anticipation of the release.
Defense attorneys say volunteers have come forward to provide a suitable place for them to live as a legal procedure forward.
Backus had bail of $20,000 with no deposit — just a threat of a penalty if suspects break condition of their release.
Backus, an elected Democrat, said that her decision to grant the release to house arrest with conditions, such as the wearing of ankle-monitor — is tied to the recent reforms of the state of the pre-trial detention system that is a high bar for incriminating evidence needed to identify suspects without bail.
In allowing the releases, Backus held that the state failed to provide the evidence to back-up of important allegations in the case.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj on the condition that a number of the children with firearms training, including tactical skills, such as the speed of loading the guns and firing on the move.
Along with rifles, pistols and ammunition, authorities say they found books on effective in combat and the building of untraceable assault-style rifles.
Backus also printed evidence to support the allegations that the children dying of hunger in the compound.
Prosecutors said one of the members of the family had reached out to a relative to send the group of food or money, and the sheriff testified that the authorities found the remains of the food in what he described as dirty and disgusting living conditions on the compound.