Homicide suspect indicted on murder charges

CNJ staff

Homicide suspect Anthony Ray Casillas was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder Friday in connection with the Sept. 25 shooting deaths of a Melrose man and a Lubbock woman, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Casillas, 21, of Clovis is accused of shooting Gary Payne, 52, and Melissa Ward, 36, while the trio were riding in a van on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Chandler said investigators have determined the victims and the suspect were riding together “voluntarily,” but he would not comment on what sparked the shooting.

Casillas surrendered to police about a week after the shooting.

Casillas and Payne worked together with a silage company and had a history of friction, according to witnesses.

Chandler said a grand jury also found evidence exists to charge him with tampering with evidence and felon in possession of a firearm.

Casillas will be scheduled for an arraignment in the next 10 days, at which point a trial date will be set.