FARMINGTON — A Farmington man accused of robbing a mother and her 9-year-old son at gunpoint will face six felony charges in district court.

Six of the eight felonies Alton King was originally charged with were bound over to district court Wednesday after a preliminary hearing in front of Farmington Magistrate Judge James Mosberger.

Police said that on Jan. 2, King, 41, forced his way into Renelda Herrera's home on Melba Lane in Farmington. He held Herrera and her son at gunpoint, stole a computer and shot a gun in the air as he was leaving in a vehicle, according to court documents. He was arrested later that night.

King's attorney, Eric Morrow, said the confrontation stemmed from a drug debt and Herrera's recollection of the events can't be trusted.

"Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. When you owe money on a drug debt and you think you can point the finger at the person who you owe money to to get out of a debt, it can be an effective strategy," he said.

Herrera said during the hearing that she was at her home on a Wednesday evening when she heard a knock on the door. She said a woman at the door asked if she knew King and wanted to talk to him outside.

"I got a weird feeling and I said no," Herrera said.

Then, Herrera said, King ran up to the door and forced his way inside with a gun.

"My little boy was sitting in the living room and he was scared," she said. King "had a gun and he pulled it on me."

Herrera said King asked about her ex-husband, Spencer Olguin.


Herrera said Olguin would buy drugs for King and that Olguin owed King $150. King had been to the home several times asking for the money days before the alleged robbery attempt, she said.

Herrera said Olguin was sleeping in a back bedroom during the robbery.

The robbery "was about Spencer (Olguin) getting him drugs but I had nothing to do with it," Herrera said.

Herrera testified that her 9-year-old son was in the room during the robbery and her 14-year-old autistic daughter was also in the house.

"I was upset. If my kids weren't there I would have fought back," Herrera said. "I was more scared my daughter was going to come running from her room and he was going to shoot her or something."

During cross examination, Morrow accused Herrera of being a frequent methamphetamine smoker.

"Don't you smoke methamphetamine every day? Weren't you doing methamphetamine at the time?" Morrow asked.

Morrow argued in his closing that the state failed to meet its burden of proof on child abuse and felony gun possession charges.

He said the state didn't present any evidence that King pointed a gun at the child.

"If you commit an armed robbery with a gun with a child in the room and that doesn't rise to (child abuse) I don't know what does," Deputy District Attorney Casey Stone countered.

Mosberger bound the charges over to district court. Prosecutors dismissed two second-degree felony charges for conspiracy before the hearing. Those charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means they can be refiled, Stone said.

Morrow also unsuccessfully tried to get King's bond reduced. King is being held at the San Juan County Detention Center on a $175,000 bond.

King is charged with aggravated burglary armed with a deadly weapon and armed robbery, which are second-degree felonies, child abuse, a third-degree felony, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting from a motor vehicle and felon in possession of a firearm, which are fourth-degree felonies.

The second degree felonies carry a prison sentence of up to nine years if convicted, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said.

The child abuse could carry a three-year prison sentence and the fourth-degree felonies can be punished by up to 18 months in prison each.

Two women were with King the night of the robbery. One of the women, Tiffany McCants, 31, is King's sister. King allegedly handed her the stolen computer and she put it in the vehicle.

McCants has been charged with armed robbery, a second-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony and accepting stolen property, a fourth-degree felony.

O'Brien said charges are not expected to be filed against the other woman who was there.

McCants was interviewed by Farmington police detectives on Jan. 15. She allegedly said she was there the night of the robbery but did not know what King's plans were. She went up to the house to see what King was doing when she heard the commotion and he handed her a computer, which she put in the car, according to court documents.

When police asked what happened to the computer she ended the interview.

McCants was arrested Jan. 23. She is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing next Wednesday.

McCants and King are the children of Diane McCants, the San Juan County Democratic Party Chairwoman. King and McCants were driving Diane McCants' vehicle the night of the crime, according to court documents.