Suspect awaiting trial in death of ‘Skip’ faces new charges

Suspect awaiting trial in death of ‘Skip’ faces new charges

From the Las Vegas Optic

The man accused of killing 71-year-old William “Skip” Smith Jr. in the summer of 2019 is facing new charges.

Police allege 42-year-old Seig Isaac Chavez (who’s listed as Isaac Seig Chavez in some court documents) hid two weapons and other contraband in his jail cell at the San Miguel County Detention Center where he is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Although the new charges were recently filed, they stem from an incident in early February when corrections officers searched Chavez and his cell and located two makeshift knives, or “shanks,” along with several other items, according to a statement of probable cause filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court.

Corrections officers searched Chavez’s cell on Feb. 9 after Chavez complained of being “teased” by other inmates, according to the probable cause statement. An officer also located injuries to Chavez’s head. He denied being in any kind of altercation and said his injuries were the result of an accidental fall.

Officers decided to move Chavez to a different pod, and as he was gathering his items from his cell, a shank fell to the floor, according to the probable cause statement. During a search of Chavez, officers located a “homemade syringe.”

During the search of Chavez’s cell, officers located pieces of cloth tied together leading to a hole inside the wall. When officers pulled the cloth out, they found it was tied to a box hidden inside the wall that contained electronic parts, electrical wires, a small electric motor, batteries, a lighter and a bag containing unspecified pills. Officers also located pens, razors and two bottles of “hooch,” a type of alcoholic wine made by jail inmates.

Upon noticing signs that Chavez’s jail-issued mattress had been tampered with, officers opened the mattress and located a second shank along with more homemade syringes.

According to incident reports, one of the shanks appeared to be a flat sharp metal object with a cloth handle with 2 inches of metal protruding from the handle. The second appeared to be a skinny metal object “similar to a screwdriver,” with a cloth handle and approximately 2 inches of metal protruding from the handle.

Chavez is charged with two felony counts of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, along with misdemeanor charges of criminal damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chavez is currently being held at SMCDC without bond as he awaits trial for murder in the death of Smith. A separate bond for the new charges was set by Judge Christian Montaño during a March 29 hearing.

Judge Montaño set bond for Chavez at $5,000, cash only. At a review hearing Thursday, Judge Melanie Rivera amended Chavez’s conditions of release, citing that Chavez is a high flight risk. The amended conditions changed Chavez’s bond to a $20,000 standard bond, requiring a payment of 10 percent before release.

The new bond would only apply if Chavez were to be released in the case where he’s charged with murder, and if he were released, under the recent conditions, Chavez would be required to be on house arrest with a GPS monitor.

He is scheduled to appear in Magistrate Court on April 7 for a preliminary hearing. A trial for the murder charge is scheduled to begin June 20.