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A Santa Rosa man pleaded not guilty this morning to vandalism, three counts of child endangerment and violating a protective order in connection with the alleged abduction of his and his estranged wife’s three daughters last week. Jose Alberto Rojo, 25, allegedly smashed his Chevrolet Tahoe into the doors of his wife’s family’s insurance business in Santa Rosa on June 14 and drove away with his three daughters ages 3, 5, and 7.
The incident prompted a statewide Amber Alert. Rojo was arrested later that day in a Motel 6 parking lot on Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa shortly after the girls were recovered. He had apparently turned them over to a third party, who in turn delivered them to a relative at Howarth Park who called police. Along with entering his plea today, Rojo also was determined to be mentally competent to participate in the legal proceedings. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge had ordered an evaluation of Rojo by a psychiatrist before this morning’s hearing.
At the time of the alleged abduction, Rojo was out of custody on $120,000 bail pending an August trial on another alleged domestic violence incident with his wife that occurred in January. LaForge canceled the Aug. 4 trial date this afternoon and set Rojo’s bail in the new case at $250,000. The judge also signed a criminal protective order against Rojo. There also is a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement no-bail hold on Rojo, who will return to court July 10 for appointment of counsel.
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