Salisbury homicide suspects enter plea to lesser charges

Courtesy photo Joshua Martinez

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Three men charged with first-degree murder in the shooting and killing of Clovis second-hand store owner Emmett Salisbury were allowed to pleaded to lesser charges.

The decision was part of a July 31 plea agreement with District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Larry McClendon, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and will serve 16 years followed by five years probation.

Anthony Wallace, 20, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 18 years, to run concurrent with a 36-year sentence for armed robberies outside Salisbury’s store the night of the shooting.

Joshua Martinez, 31, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Chandler said the decision to reach plea agreements was motivated by consideration for Salisbury’s family.

“The victim’s family wanted to avoid the publicity of a trial and some of the issues that Mr. Salisbury was dealing with at the time of his death,” Chandler said, “so the state took the victim’s family’s wishes into account when negotiating with defense attorneys.

“We believe,” Chandler said, “that those involved were held responsible and held accountable; the triggerman ended up with a 36-year sentence and the victim’s family was able to avoid the difficulty of sitting through a two week jury trial.”

Salisbury’s body was discovered in the Grand Avenue store Jan. 8 by his partner.

Police said the 36-year-old was shot once in the chest.

Several victims told police the three were robbing people at gunpoint outside the store the night Salisbury was shot.

Witnesses told police the trio had planned to win Salisbury’s trust so they could find and steal his supply of illegal narcotics.

According to court records, Wallace told fellow inmates at the Curry County Adult Detention Center that Martinez waited in a vehicle while he and McClendon went in Salisbury’s store.

Chandler said prosecutors were prepared to show Wallace was the triggerman.

Martinez, he said, waited in a car outside, acting as a “lookout”.

The three men will be required to serve 85 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for parole, Chandler said.

Michael England, 30, plead guilty in June to tampering with evidence for helping to destroy the gun used in the shooting.

England and McClendon were among eight escapees who climbed through a hole they cut in the roof of the Curry County jail last August.

England is serving an additional four years for the escape and McClendon is serving an additional 18 months.