Man accused of threatening ex-girlfriend with gun to remain in jail
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Chaunie Saunders is accused of beating up his girlfriend and threatening her with a gun. He’s faced similar allegations before, but the cases have been dropped.
This time, however, the circumstances are different because his alleged victim cannot testify against him.
Saunders went before a judge Monday and prosecutors presented a disturbing video to try to keep him in jail until his trial.
“The defendant was angry because the victim had carried the baby to term, and he did not want the child.”
Saunders subtly shook his head as prosecutors went over 16 years of domestic violence allegations.
“In these domestic violence relationships, more harm comes to the victim after they engage law enforcement, than if they just sucked it up and didn’t call them in the first place,” said Natalie Lyon, prosecutor.
Saunders’ defense pointed out that the cases against Saunders had been dropped, and he is not dangerous.
“That’s a mere speculation judge. It’s an opinion of the state,” said defense attorney Aaron Mitchell.
This time, there is video evidence from inside a home for his battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.
“Don’t lie to me. ‘I’m not. I’ll take you to it.’ Where did you stop at.”
Saunders can be seen hitting Alyssa Pierce in the face hard. Her head hits the wall, she falls to the ground and then:
“This is the last time. Open your f****** mouth.”
Saunders can be seen pulling a handgun out, wrestling Pierce to the ground and telling her to open her mouth.
“Open your mouth right now. One, two. ‘Chaunie, please!'”
Investigators say the home surveillance video was sent to Pierce’s mom with a message: “Should anything happen to me, send this to law enforcement.”
Last September, Pierce was found shot in the head. Her death is not currently considered a homicide, but police say they are still investigating.
Meanwhile, the woman Saunders currently lives with – Stephanie Quezada – describes herself as a co-parent with him. She says despite a restraining order she filed, he’s never gotten violent with her.
“Everything that has been shown makes him seem like a really bad person, but I don’t have any concern for myself or my children since living with him,” said Stephanie Quezada.
Judge Moran decided to hold Saunders in jail until his trial.
APD says they are still going over evidence in the victim’s death investigation.
UPDATE (4/27/2023): A grand jury indicted Saunders on two felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery (great bodily harm).