Child neglect charges were dismissed on Wednesday against three of five people arrested at a remote desert compound in New Mexico, including Hujrah Wahhaj (pictured) due to a missed evidentiary hearing deadline
Three of the adults in the New Mexico child abuse compound that ‘tried to train Muslim extremist ideas on the 11 children they held’, were released from custody Wednesday.
It came after a judge dismissed charges against in the death of a three year-old boy when prosecutors failed to prepare for an evidentiary hearing within a 10-day period.
Lucas Morton, his Subhannah Wahhaj, and her sister Hujrah Wahhaj, left the jail in Toas with Subhannah’s defense lawyer Megan Mitsunaga simply telling Reuters, ‘They’re out now.’
While they won’t face punishment for the death of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj as a result of child neglect, the deceased’s father Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille, remain behind bars for the charges.
The father of the dead boy and his partner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to new charges of child abuse resulting in death, after lesser charges were dismissed against them and other members of their extended family.
Hujrah Wahhaj (left) talks with her attorney Marie Legrand Miller during a hearing on a motion to dismiss in the Taos County Courthouse, Wednesday
Subhannah Wahhaj (left) sat with her attorney Megan Mitsunaga during a hearing on a motion to dismiss in the Taos County Courthouse, Wednesday
Lucas Morton (right) is now free. He’s pictured listening to his attorney Aleks Kostich (left) argue for his release from jail during a hearing on a motion to dismiss
As far as the trespassing charges they all face, Mitsunaga claims they built a remote desert compound in northern New Mexico on the wrong plot of land by accident.
Law enforcement had found them living in filth near Amalia and the body was later discovered on the property after land owners called in police.
The defense lawyer also said she doesn’t know whether prosecutors intend to file further charges.
However, Associated Press reports that prosecutors have other options for pursuing charges against the newly-released, including seeking indictments from a grand jury.
Prosecutor John Lovelace declined to speak about how they planned to pursue it
Judge Emilio Chavez ruled that he could not keep the three in custody because prosecutors missed the deadline to establish probable cause for the neglect charges.
Child neglect charges were dismissed against three of five people arrested at a remote desert compound in northern New Mexico where 11 children were found living in filth and the body of a 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (pictured) was discovered, due to a missed filing deadline
The Taos county jail, where two people accused of child abuse at a desert compound are still awaiting release
The child’s father Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (from left) and stepmother Jany Leveille talked with attorneys Kelly Golightley and Tom Clark. They pleaded not guilty Wednesday to new charges of child abuse resulting in death after lesser charges were dismissed against them
Authorities are pushing ahead with other charges filed against the dead boy’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (pictured), and his partner, Jany Leveille
Jany Leveille could be charged for illegal immigration. Federal authorities say the native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa
Another New Mexico judge today announced they would be dropping child abuse charges against two of the defendants due to the correct procedure not being followed.
District Judge Jeff McElroy criticized the office of Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos for how the charges have been handled, citing a ‘complete failure to follow procedures in prosecuting the case.’
Deputy District Attorney Timothy Hasson said they ‘respectfully disagree’.
Right before they were released, Gallegos warned the decision-maker that they still represented a danger to the public and filed documents to request they be jailed without bail pending trial.
Referencing ‘bizarre cult practices’ and evidence they found of plans to carry out terrorist attacks, he stated that the released trio wanted ‘to conduct future acts of violence against individuals and civic institutions’.
Authorities are pushing ahead with other charges filed against the severely disabled boy who had been living with his mother in Georgia prior to his death.
Security was boosted at the judiciary complex in Taos, New Mexico where Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Wahhaj were awaiting release, amid threats against the state judge who cleared the way for the defendants to leave the county jail.
Judge Jeff McElroy said Wednesday about a possible public backlash after his decision: ‘I urge everyone not to react to solely the information contained within the warrants that were filed but rather to the evidence as it gets developed in this case.’
A self-described Air Force pararescue veteran pointed out that the judge who dismissed the charges was forced to do so, because prosecutors didn’t follow the proper process.
Twitter user @BKactual wrote on Wednesday:
‘The judge had to do this by law, because the prosecutors chose not to file any paperwork on people who were abusing children, training them for school shootings and oh yeah there was a kid’s corpse on their property. What is going on there in New Mexico??’
Author Ari Armstrong responded to the news with a vague, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was upset with the prosecutors, the judge, or both, but his disdain for the situation was obvious.
A self-described Air Force pararescue veteran pointed out that the judge who dismissed the charges was forced to do so, because prosecutors didn’t follow the proper process
Author Ari Armstrong responded to the news with a vague, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was upset with the prosecutors, the judge, or both, but his disdain for the situation was obvious
Eleven children were also found living in filth at the compound in Amalia, New Mexico; This photo, provided by the Toas County Sheriff’s Department on August 6, shows the conditions
State forensic investigators announced on August 16 that the highly decomposed body found at the desert compound in Amalia, New Mexico was identified as the missing Georgia boy with severe disabilities.
Abdul-ghani Wahhaj was the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.
The charges that could carry life sentences in connection with the boy’s death.
The boy’s badly decomposed remains were found this month inside a tunnel at the high-desert compound near the Colorado state line.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have accused Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille of denying the boy proper medicine and health care as he died during rituals designed to cast out harmful spirits from the boy.
Joe Biggs, whose verified Twitter username is ‘@RamboBiggs’ and bio says he is an investigative journalist, wrote in reaction to the charges being dropped for the moment: ‘What in the F/ck? Are you kidding me. Omg this is beyond wrong and stupid’
The boy initially was reported missing last year from Jonesboro, Georgia, by his mother after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn’t return.
Forensic medical investigators have not identified the cause and manner of the boy’s death as they continue their analysis.
Chavez ruled that the other three defendants could be released as early as Wednesday afternoon depending on what action prosecutors take.
Prosecutors had pressed to keep the three in custody as they planned to present new evidence of an anti-government plot and talk of jihad and martyrdom among some members of the extended Muslim family that settled at the compound last winter.
Joe Biggs, whose verified Twitter username is ‘@RamboBiggs’ and bio says he is an investigative journalist, wrote in reaction to the charges being dropped for the moment:
‘What in the F/ck? Are you kidding me. Omg this is beyond wrong and stupid.’
New Mexico forensic investigators announced on August 16 that a highly decomposed body found at a desert compound in New Mexico has been identified as Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, a severely disabled three-year-old who had been living in Georgia with his mother; In this file photo, the extended family’s makeshift living compound in Amalia, New Mexico is shown as it appeared on August 10
Among the evidence is a hand-written document called ‘Phases of a Terrorist Attack’ that was seized from the compound and includes vague instructions for ‘the one-time terrorist’ and mentioned an unnamed place called ‘the ideal attack site.’
Prosecutors wrote in court documents that new interviews with some of the children taken from the site revealed that one of the adults, Morton, stated he wished to die in jihad as a martyr.
The documents also stated that defendants Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj joked about dying in jihad.
Defense attorneys have noted that their clients have no record of criminal convictions and pose no risk to the public.
Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.
The charges against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille are tied to an extensive account of Abdul-ghani’s death in a journal that prosecutors attribute to Leveille.
Prosecutors say the boy died in late December 2017 as his heartbeat faded in and out during a religious ritual aimed at casting out demonic spirits.
Eleven children were held at a makeshift compound in the desert area of Amalia. A New Mexico judge has dismissed child neglect charges against three defendants