CCC wins lawsuit

By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor A Roosevelt County jury has acquitted Clovis Community College of allegations of discrimination filed against the college by a former administrator. Laura Jane Flores, a former Portales resident and former dean of instruction at CCC, filed a lawsuit against the college and CCC President Beverlee McClure claiming she was […]

Muleshoe man found innocent by jury

CNJ staff reports MULESHOE — A Bailey County jury found a Muleshoe man innocent of a murder charge on Friday, District Judge Gordon Green said. Larry Brent Kitchens, 52, was found innocent of murdering Derwin Wyn Beauchamp, 43, in October of 2003 at the home of Vince Simnacher. Kitchens is also charged with killing his […]

Vehicular homicide trial delayed

CNJ Staff The jury trial for Joe Martinez Jr., accused of killing Bobby Lynn Sandoval while trying to flee Clovis police on July 4, 2003, has been postponed until Nov. 15. Jury selection was slated to begin Monday in District Judge Stephen Quinn’s courtroom, but defense attorneys for Martinez had the trial continued due to […]

Attorney will not seek death in murder case

By Mike Linn: CNJ News Editor MULESHOE — A Muleshoe man charged with capital murder in the deaths of three people including his ex-wife will not face the death penalty, court officials said Wednesday during jury selection at the Bailey County Courthouse. Larry Kitchens, 52, dressed in a light, white, button-down shirt and jeans, listened […]

Teen charged with first-degree murder

Staff and wire reports PORTALES — A Roosevelt County grand jury has indicted a Portales teenager on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of a Portales woman. Richard Baca, 18, is accused in the April slaying of Amber Robinson, 19. Her body was found in the back yard of the house where Baca […]

Outgoing, incoming DAs plan to cooperate

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ staff writer Both the incoming and outgoing district attorneys said they want to make the next seven months an effective transition period. Incumbent 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter said he hasn’t yet called his successful challenger, Matt Chandler, but will consult with him as the time comes near for […]

Jury: Innocent of murder

Fernando Garcia hugs attorney Jim Klipstine Jr. of Hobbs at the Curry County Courthouse after being found not guilty of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence Thursday. Garcia was found guilty of dogfighting. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Darrell Todd Maurina, CNJ STAFF WRITER Dogfight guilt seen by panel Jurors spent two hours trying […]

Trial over but family lacks closure

By Darrell Todd Maurina, CNJ STAFF WRITER Garcia hopes to resume a normal life, feels sorry for Moises Ortiz’s loved ones. Fernando Garcia just wants to move forward. The 20-year-old Clovis resident spent nearly a year in jail, charged with killing Moises Ortiz, before a jury found him innocent of the charge. Garcia had been […]

Jury issues stall trial

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ staff writer Difficulties seating an impartial jury delayed the homicide trial of Fernando Garcia, 20, until late Monday afternoon. But prosecutors and defense attorneys were still able to present brief testimony from two law enforcement officers before adjourning for the evening. Garcia faces charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and […]

Grand jury to decide charge in gun death

Cops and Courts Ninth Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter said the Mark Madrid case will be sent to a grand jury to determine what charges he should face. “It could possibly be a first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or voluntary homicide,” Carter said. Madrid was arrested Monday for open murder in connection with the shooting death […]

Grand jury indicts three men in January homicide

Darrell Todd Maurina Three men were indicted Friday for murder by a Curry County grand jury in connection with the Jan. 4 shooting death of Carlos Murillo, 27, of Clovis, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter. Santiago Miguel Calbert, 19, Christopher Meier, 20, and Eric Duran, 26, all of Clovis, face charges of […]

Sex charges dismissed against Quay County jail employee

By William Thompson Robert Gonzales, the Quay County Juvenile Detention Center employee who was arrested and charged in November with criminal sexual acts, has had all charges against him dismissed in Quay County Magistrate Court. However, evidence will now be presented against Gonzales before a grand jury, his supervisor at the detention center said. Magistrate […]

Vehicular homicide case recesses without verdict

By Darrell Todd Maurina The jury in the vehicular homicide trial of Harry L. Downey recessed without a verdict Thursday night after more than two hours of deliberations. Debates about basic facts and the interpretations of those facts have been frequent since the trial began Monday in the courtroom of Judge Stephen Quinn, according to […]

Sex-crime defendant accepts plea agreement

By Darrell Todd Maurina A 21-year-old accused of sexual assault reported to the Curry County Adult Detention Center Thursday evening for 60 days of sexual offender diagnostic testing. John Jacobs faces up to 18 months in state prison after entering into a plea agreement with prosecutors to one count of attempted criminal sexual penetration. Jacobs […]

DA opts for closed grand jury hearings in child-sex cases

By Darrell Todd Maurina Three people accused of involvement with a group that engaged in sex with preteen girls won’t face preliminary hearings this week. Instead, the district attorney’s office has opted to conduct closed grand jury hearings in their cases. Under New Mexico law, district attorneys have several methods to present evidence showing probable […]

Clovis man cleared of rape charge

By Darrell Todd Maurina Editor’s note: This story contains some graphic descriptions that some readers may find objectionable. PORTALES — A Roosevelt County jury late Friday found John Jacobs innocent of raping a fellow Eastern New Mexico University student. The courtroom audience then erupted — some in tears and others in relief. Judge Stephen Quinn […]

DA: Clovis’ violent year not typical

Darrell Todd Maurina The Clovis area has seen five deaths related to firearms in the past seven months and 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter said the violence is not typical. “This has probably been one of the most violent years as far as firearms-related deaths,” Carter said. “I think this is the first time […]

Cops and Courts 6/8

A Curry County grand jury handed down first degree murder indictments Friday afternoon in the double homicide of Wesley Griest and Alex Rodriguez on Feb. 28. According to 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter, the grand jury indicted Dominic L. Murphy, 25, of Clovis, on two counts of first degree murder and tampering with evidence, […]

Cops and Courts

A Curry County grand jury handed down first degree murder indictments Friday afternoon in the double homicide of Wesley Griest and Alex Rodriguez on Feb. 28. According to 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter, the grand jury indicted Dominic L. Murphy, 25, of Clovis, on two counts of first degree murder and tampering with evidence, […]

Liberties being violated in name of Patriot Act

No terrorist act ought to reduce Americans’ precious civil liberties, our greatest treasure and gift to the world. Yet that has been happening in so many ways, such as with the misnamed USA Patriot Act. The act has even distorted the grand jury process, especially at the federal level. Grand juries were set up in […]