Investigation continues in Newman slayings

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

Funeral services for Odis and Doris Newman are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, but information about how they died remained limited on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a man accused of killing the longtime Portales residents was still in a Lubbock hospital after he was shot by police attempting to arrest him. The condition of Jerry Fuller, 32, was not clear, but officials said he had been stabilized. Fuller was admitted to Covenant Hospital in critical condition on Tuesday after police shot him at least once in the torso.

Officials said they would release more information about the case at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Clovis-Carver Public Library.

The Newmans were found dead in the trunk of their burned car on March 3 southeast of Portales. Fuller, a nephew of the Newmans by marriage, was shot early Tuesday morning on North Main Avenue as police attempted to arrest him for two counts of murder. Police on Wednesday said Fuller had a gun when he was shot. Previously, they had declined to address that question.

The Newmans had been in Portales since 1957, when Odis established Valley Electric.

Funeral services are set for Third and Kilgore Church of Christ in Portales. An account has also been set up for the family at Portales National Bank.

Four people have been arrested so far in connection with the Newmans’ deaths. Fuller is the only one charged with murder. The other three — Cynthia Peninger, 22, Stanley Bedford, 41, and Archie Crawford, 27 — have been arrested for possession of stolen property. All four suspects are from Portales.

District Attorney Matthew Chandler would not say if officials have spoken to Fuller or if any motive for the slayings has been determined.

“We cannot release that yet,” Chandler said. “We don’t want to hamper any future leads.”

Fuller is in the custody of New Mexico State Police and Texas Rangers and is expected to be placed in the Roosevelt County Detention Center if and when he’s released from the Lubbock hospital.

Peninger, Bedford and Crawford are all at the Curry County Detention Center on $10,000 cash-only bonds. They are scheduled to be moved to Portales by March 18 for a Roosevelt County grand jury hearing.

Chandler said Tuesday he expects additional arrests and charges will be filed in the case, but he said no new arrests were made as of Wednesday night.

Al Beaulieu, co-owner of Pawn City in Clovis, said the three arrested for possession of stolen property were attempting to sell jewelry that he believed belonged to the Newmans.

Beaulieu said Peninger went to the back of the store that he and his brother Mike own to sell rings while friends were browsing elsewhere in the store.

Al Beaulieu said early Tuesday police provided a picture of missing jewelry to Pawn City.

“I went up front to call the police while Mike distracted the girl,” Al Beaulieu said. “(Police) had them arrested before anybody knew what was going on.”

Al Beaulieu said police usually just give a written description of stolen jewelry, but in this case the picture helped them make an identification.

“This was standard operating procedure,” he said. “Any pawn shop in America would have done the same.”

Chandler said information from the pawn-shop arrests led officials to search for Fuller. His car was found at 3 a.m. Tuesday at a residence on 1020 N. Main.

Later that morning, a special response team from the Clovis Police Department arrived and set up a perimeter around the residence. Fuller emerged from a shed, Chandler said, with what appeared to be a weapon. Police repeatedly ordered Fuller to drop his weapon and show his hands, Chandler said, and he was shot when he did not comply.

“A gun was seized in close proximity to his person, and I will say that he had a gun,” New Mexico State Police Lt. Jimmy Glascock said on Wednesday. Glascock said additional details about Tuesday’s shooting will be released this morning.

Three CPD officers have been placed on paid leave — a standard procedure for any officer who discharges a weapon.

Freedom Newspapers Staff Writer Leslie Radford contributed to this report.