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Jury acquits ex-deputy of child abuse

A Ninth Judicial District Court jury on Tuesday found former Roosevelt County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher McCasland not guilty of felony child abuse.

The jury handed down the verdict on the second day of a two-day trial in Portales before Judge Drew Tatum.

McCasland, 37, was charged on March 1, 2022, with child abuse not causing great bodily injury, a third-degree felony, in Roosevelt County Magistrate Court. New Mexico State Police Agent Justin Tiemann charged in an arrest affidavit that McCasland abused his 7-year-old son repeatedly while McCasland was driving a motor vehicle.

McCasland was represented by Dean Border, an Albuquerque attorney. Border declined to comment Thursday in an email, because he is involved in another trial.

McCasland could not be reached for comment.

McCasland told law officers at the time of his arrest that he struck the boy as discipline after the boy had taken a toy from his 4-year-old sister.

The jury's decision seems to have ended about three years of various criminal allegations aimed at McCasland.

Earlier this summer, the New Mexico Court of Appeals affirmed a guilty verdict handed down by Tatum in a theft case against McCasland.

In April 2020, McCasland was sentenced to 182 days in jail after he was convicted of receiving stolen property, a petty misdemeanor, in 2014 when he was a police officer in Angel Fire. His attorney at the time said the allegations were a result of a marital dispute.

Border later alleged McCasland had also been a scapegoat for mismanagement at the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department.

Brian Stover, deputy district attorney for the Ninth Judicial District Attorney's office, said on Thursday he was "very disappointed" in the Tuesday verdict acquitting McCasland of child abuse.

"The bruising on the boy's chest clearly indicated abuse," he said, but the jury decided it was not "cruel punishment."

He added, however, that he respects the jury's opinion.

McCasland was served notice of termination from the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department in 2020 after criminal allegations first surfaced, records show.

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