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Local attorney tests negative for COVID-19

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Lea County got a scare earlier this week of a possible exposure to COVID-19.  However, the person in question has tested negative for the virus.

At Monday’s court hearing at the Hobbs Magistrate Court for defendent Ralph Prieto, the public defender in the case was suspected to have infected a courtroom of 24 people.

The public defender’s COVID-19 test was determined to be negative on Friday.

Prieto, 41, of Hobbs is charged in the February 23, shooting death of Rick Ford of Hobbs.

People who were in the court room included Fifth Judicial District Attorney Diana Luce, Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton, and Division 2 Magistrate Judge Willie Henry.

After the exposure Luce and Henry choose to self-quarantine while Helton and his detective were not.

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