Provided by Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler
Clovis, NM- Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler announced that Michael Vargas, 40, of Clovis, was sentenced today by District Judge Teddy L. Hartley to serve the next 16 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections.
On June 11, 2013, a jury found Vargas guilty of 24 counts of child abuse, all third degree felonies. His conviction results from an incident that occurred in 2010. At that time, two small children reported to a social worker at their elementary school that they were being punished by their foster parents with a stun gun or taser. The children, who were in foster care of Michael Vargas, had at least 24 burn marks to their stomachs and arms. It was proven that the abuse occurred over a period of two months.
The State argued that Vargas should spend at least 24 years in prison, one for each scar left on the victims. However, after a lengthy sentencing hearing, Judge Hartley ordered Vargas to serve the next 16 years in prison, and an additional 5 years of supervised probation and parole upon release from prison. The State proved that Vargas committed a serious, violent offense, which means that Vargas must serve at least 85% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
"It is unconscionable that anyone would ever consider using a taser as a means of punishment," said District Attorney Matthew Chandler. "The victims in this case are relieved that all of this is over, and they can now focus on the things kids are supposed to focus on."
Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrea Reeb represented the State on behalf of the District Attorney's Office, and attorney Jennifer Burrill of Clovis represented Vargas in the child abuse case. For additional information, please contact the Ninth Judicial District Attorney's Office at 575-769-2246.