Sandia Park man awaiting trial on attempted first-degree murder charge

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An Aug. 13 trial date is set for a Sandia Park man who Valencia County deputies said tried to set his ex-girlfriend's Meadow Lake house on fire last year along Navajo Lane.

Last month, officials from the New Mexico Regional Forensic Laboratory and attorneys for both sides went before a judge to determine what information could be extracted from the computer of the man, Andrew Smoot.

Deputies said Smoot used his computer to harass and stalk his ex-girlfriend, Emilie Deans, through email and Facebook, following a May 2011 incident where Smoot is alleged to have planned to set Deans' house on fire.

On May 25, 2011, Smoot told deputies he intended to set fire to the girl's home and had parked his Nissan Maxima with a bottle of lighter fluid on the trunk before a deputy saw the suspicious vehicle while on a routine patrol.

Deputies also found an open package of Latex gloves, an open package of face masks, anti-freeze and a package of steaks.

Smoot told deputies he intentionally soaked the steak with anti-freeze and threw it over the fence for the family's dog to ingest. He said he wanted the dog to be incapacitated so he could approach the residence.

Smoot is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of aggravated attempted arson, one count of aggravated stalking, one count of extreme cruelty to animals and one count of aggravated stalking.

In April, District Court Judge Richard Knowles revoked Smoot's conditions of release. He is being held at the Valencia County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Valencia County Sheriff's Detective James Harris said Sgt. Alan Montano discovered the items in Smoot's vehicle after speaking with the girl about his harassment earlier in the day.

"I don't know if it was a gut feeling or it was just dumb luck," Harris said.

Harris said after that incident, Smoot continued to harass the girl by using her information and hacking into her accounts and acting as if it were the girl.

He said Smoot had been harassing the girl "for quite some time."

In one instance, Harris said Smoot sent him a message posing as Emilie Deans. The message said, "I can't live with the guilt anymore. I faked everything. I lied about him and I got my friends and my brother to help me fake my Facebook messages and hack into all his messages and accounts to spy on him."

The message goes onto say, "I kind of tricked Andrew Smoot to get arrested last year. The truth is that I asked him to call me from a different phone.

"When we talked, I (purposely) made him upset so he would send me messages."

But Harris said Smoot used spy software to hack into the girl's accounts to create messages and sent Deans numerous messages from different user names that told Deans she should leave Smoot alone.

Harris said he was glad Knowles decided to revoke Smoot's release.

"I felt he was a danger to society and a danger to the young lady," Harris said.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.