Second Portales brother arraigned on murder charge

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

A second Portales man was arraigned on first-degree murder charges on Monday in connection with the death of a Portales woman who was found buried in a back yard.

Clifford Baca, 20, is accused in the April slaying of Amber Robinson, 19, in the north part of Portales. Baca faces one count of first-degree murder, one count of tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Stephen Quinn said Baca could face life in prison or the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder. Baca may also face up to three years for tampering with evidence and a maximum of 18 months for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Baca did not have an attorney present and said he was not planning to hire an attorney. Quinn said he would appoint a public defender to represent Baca.

“I’m going to enter a plea of not guilty (for you),” Quinn said on Monday.

Baca is being held on a $150,000 cash-only bond in the Roosevelt County Detention Center.

Senior prosecutor Donna Mowrer said if Baca were to post the bond, conditions of his release would include that he stay in Roosevelt County, be under house arrest and wear an electric monitoring device.

Baca is the older brother of Richard Baca, 18, who is also charged with first-degree in Robinson’s death. Richard Baca is being held at the RCDC under a $300,00 cash-only bond.

Clifford Baca and Richard Baca’s pre-trial hearings have been set for Monday morning. The pre-trial hearing for Richard Baca was originally set for early October but a delay was granted because the prosecuting attorney had not received laboratory results from the state of New Mexico. Quinn granted Mowrer a 90-day extension on the pre-trial hearing.

Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said Robinson may have died from blows following a confrontation with her attacker.