By John Larson
SOCORRO – The case against Martin Pyke, 44, who was implicated in a March 2006 fire at the Eagles Club two years ago, will not go to District Court. Additional charges of embezzling gaming funds from the club have also been set aside.
According to District Attorney Clint Wellborn, Pyke has entered a program created by the state legislature in 1978 designed to rehabilitate alleged offenders.
“Pyke has entered the Pre-prosecution Diversion Program, created by the Pre-Prosecution Diversion Act, which is run through our office and not by the courts,” Wellborn said. “It was set up basically for first-time non-violent offenders and sets up a process that lets them rehabilitate themselves.
“It’s used typically for white collar crimes,” he said. “In this case we took input from the Eagles Club and other parties as to what they wanted on the case. It’s been an ongoing thing. We asked specifically what type of resolution they would like to see.”
Wellborn said in order to qualify for the program the person must first make restitution.
“That must be paid up front. Once that amount is agreed to by all parties there is a maximum two years of supervision by our office,” he said. “Among other things this includes monthly check-ins, drug tests, and some community service. The person must also pay a monthly fee to the Administrative Office of District Attorneys which goes toward D.A. training.”
Wellborn said Pyke was accepted into the state-wide program on August 6, and after two years the episode will be stricken from his record.
Now that he is seeing closure to his legal predicament, Pyke told the Mountain Mail in an interview Wednesday that he is appreciative of the support he’s received from friends and family.
Between running his jewelry casting business and being part owner of the Diamondback Restaurant, he said he relishes time spent with his daughters, Ashley, a Socorro High School freshman, and Paige, a 4th grader at Zimmerly Elementary.
“As a member of the Socorro High Class of ’84, I’m very proud of them. Both get straight A’s and are very athletic,” Pyke said. “Ashley got her varsity letter in softball, and she is now on the JV volleyball team. She also plays basketball.
“Paige is involved in soccer, golf, and basketball.”
On those occasions when the three can find time off together, Pyke said, “I’ll take every minute I can.
“Tuesdays are our family movie night. Last night we rented the Karate Kid,” he said. “A couple of weekends ago we went to Albuquerque and went for a ride on the Tram.”
Pyke said he started his Socorro-based jewelry casting studio, Diamondback Design, 13 years ago, and creates about 20,000 silver and gold pieces a year, on average.
“After eight years in the U.S. Navy, four on a ship and four as tech rep for the NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, I went after my goal of starting my own business back in Socorro,” he said. “Part of my success is that I’m lucky enough to have one of the best silversmiths in the state, Herbert Pino, working with me.”
Pyke will be taking on a little more responsibility when the Diamondback expands its hours in the next couple of weeks.
“We have plans to have the restaurant open in the evening three nights a week,” he said. “We’ve had so many requests from our customers that George [Lujan] and I feel it would be a good move.”
He said the Diamondback will be open normal hours - 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. - and then reopen from 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday nights.