Cops and courts: Clovis murder trial begins Monday

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The five-day murder trial for Jimmy Bentley is set to begin Monday in the 9th Judicial District Court.

Bentley, 72, is accused of shooting and killing Joseph Phillips on Christmas Eve in the parking lot of Econo Lodge on Mabry Drive.

Prosecutors have alleged Bentley, a white man, is racist, suggesting race as a motive for the shooting.

Phillips, a 48-year-old black man, was in Clovis selling photo packages during the holiday season, police said.

Phillips and Bentley did not know each other, police said.

According to court records, Phillips was exiting a cab when Bentley shot him in the head.

State law enforcement will be involved in a DWI Super Blitz through Sept. 4, according to a press release from the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

One of eight Super Blitzes held each year, this month’s is timed with a national crackdown on drunk driving over the Labor Day weekend, the release said. The goal of the crackdown is arresting drunk drivers; law enforcement will be out in force “to take impaired drivers off the road,” the release said.

During the Labor Day Super Blitz last year, 16 people were killed, 100 injured and 983 arrested statewide in drinking and driving incidents, according to the release.

A Texas man charged with 58 counts of animal cruelty will serve five years in prison following a plea agreement with prosecutors, according to the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

In January, Harvey Gillaspy was arrested after Curry County sheriff’s deputies discovered 33 dead dogs and cats and 25 more starving and sick animals at a home Gillaspy was renting.

Police said they had to euthanize the surviving animals because of their conditions.
As a result of a felony record in Colorado, Gillaspy, 43, was adjudged to be a habitual offender, court records show.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. She can be contacted at 763-6991 or: