By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
The murder trial of three brothers charged in connection with a 10-year-old boy’s death will be postponed so that attorneys can receive and review forensic evidence.
Prosecutor Andrea Reeb asked District Court Judge Joe Parker to push back the trial that had been scheduled for next month to at least May. Parker ordered a review meeting in six to eight weeks and scratched the January trial date.
A new trial date should be set by next week, Reeb said.
Orlando Salas, 15, Demetrio Salas, 19, and Edward Salas, 21, appeared separately in court Thursday for pre-trial hearings. The brothers and Noe Torres, 26, are charged with murder in connection with the Sept. 15 shooting death of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.
Torres remains at large, officials have said.
The Salas brothers were represented by separate Las Vegas, N.M., attorneys. They agreed to Reeb’s request to push back the trial date.
All four defendants face life in prison if convicted, officials said.
A later trial date is necessary, Reeb argued because forensic testing on all the evidence in the case could take another 30 days to a year to be completed. Forensic results are coming back weekly to the district attorney’s office, and all evidence has been sent to labs, Reeb said.
All defendants are scheduled to be tried together, Reeb said. The prosecution will not file for independent trials, and none of the defense attorneys have motioned for separate trials at this point, she said.
“It costs less to try them together, (otherwise) witnesses would be called back three times,” she said.
Edward Salas’ defense attorney, Luis Juarez, said he doesn’t know yet if he’ll file a motion for an independent trial for his client because his investigation has not yet concluded.
“In three weeks I’ll have a better idea (on whether or not to motion for an independent trial),” Juarez said.
Carlos Perez was sleeping next to his brother, Ruben Perez, when he was fatally shot once in the head, records show.
Police found nine bullet holes in the boys’ bedroom window, but no bullet casings in or around the scene, a police report showed.
A witness told police that Edward Salas said he didn’t mean to shoot the little boy; he meant to shoot the older brother, records show.
Ruben Perez stated Orlando Salas threatened him and tried to fight him at school, the report said.
The parents of the Salas brothers and Demetrio Salas were charged with possessing stolen firearms, records show.
Demetrio Salas is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center on $100,000 cash bond, Reeb said. Demetrio Salas’ attorney, Gerald Baca, said via telephone conference at the pretrial that he will motion for a reduction in Demetrio Salas’ bond.
Edward Salas is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center without bond, and Orlando Salas is being held at the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center without bond, Reeb said.
Summary of charges:
• Three Salas brothers and Noe Torres are charged with shooting at a dwelling, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, in connection with the September shooting death of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.
• Additionally, Orlando Salas is charged with tampering with evidence and conspiracy; Demetrio Salas is charged with tampering with evidence, two counts of witness intimidation, and possession of a stolen firearm; and Edward Salas is charged with two counts of witness intimidation.
Source: Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office