Murder trial moved

CNJ Staff

More than 100 motions have been argued in the homicide cases of two men accused of killing an elderly Portales couple in March 2005, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Included in those motions was the decision last week to move Stanley Bedford’s trial to Albuquerque, Chandler said. A motion to dismiss the death penalty from the case was dismissed by the judge.

Bedford, 43, and Jerry Fuller, 34, were indicted in March 2005 on two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with the deaths of Odis and Doris Newman. The couple were discovered in the trunk of a burned car.

Fuller is also charged with tampering with evidence and three counts of assault on a peace officer, and Bedford is charged with receipt of stolen property, according to court records.

“They (the Fuller and Bedford cases) had a lot of the same rulings,” Chandler said.
He explained the change of venue for Bedford was based on the same research and data provided involved in the decision in April to move Fuller’s trial to Roswell. Fuller’s attorney said publicity in the case had affected his chances of having an impartial jury.

The average death penalty case in New Mexico takes four years from arrest to verdict, according to Chandler. He said the cases are progressing in a smooth and timely fashion.

Fuller, the Newmans’ nephew by marriage, is scheduled to stand trial in January, and the target date for Bedford’s trial is the end of May, he said.

“We’re looking forward to moving the cases forward as quickly as possible. Cases of this magnitude take time to put together,” Chandler said. “Fortunately in this matter the pretrial motions are being handled very quickly and the courts are doing a terrific job in streamlining our cases.”

Each defendant’s trial is scheduled to last approximately six weeks, Chandler said.
Fuller and Bedford are being held without bond at separate facilities — Fuller is in Santa Fe and Bedford in Roosevelt County, Chandler said. They are being housed separately to protect the integrity of the case, he said.

A third defendant connected to the case, Archie Crawford, 26, pleaded guilty in June to receipt of stolen property and tampering with evidence.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in October and faces a maximum of seven years imprisonment, Chandler said.