One dead at Clovis motel

Clovis Police investigate the scene of a suspicious death Saturday evening at the Econo Lodge on Mabry Drive in Clovis. CNJ Staff photo: Eric Kluth


Investigators believe the man who died in a Clovis motel parking lot Saturday night did not know his alleged killer, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Officials said Joseph Phillips, 48, of Guthrie, Okla., died on Christmas Eve. His body was found in the parking lot of the Econo Lodge Motel with a gunshot wound.

Jimmy Bentley, 71, of Farmington is charged with an open count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the case, according to a news release from the Clovis Police Department.

There were witnesses to the shooting, Chandler said, but he would not comment on the events that led to the shooting death of Phillips. Doing so, he said, would compromise the ongoing Major Crimes Unit investigation of the shooting.

Commander of the Major Crimes Unit Lt. Roger Grah said he had no new information in the case as of Monday evening.

Bentley was being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center on Monday. His bond was set at $100,000, cash only, a jail spokeswoman said.

Officials responded to a 911 call related to shots fired about 9:45 p.m. Saturday at the motel located at 1400 Mabry Drive, according to Lt. Rich Johnson of the Clovis Police Department.