Homicide suspect surrenders

By Sharna Johnson, CNJ staff writer

Anthony Ray Casillas, a suspect in last week’s double-homicide in Clovis, turned himself in to Roswell police Friday afternoon, according to police.

Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said Casillas surrendered at the Roswell Police Department around 2:30 p.m. and requested an attorney.

He was arrested on two open counts of murder.

Clovis detectives were en route Friday afternoon to Roswell to pick Casillas up and transport him back to Clovis, Whitney said.

Casillas’ mother and father took him to police, Whitney said.

The 21-year-old is accused of shooting a Melrose man and Lubbock woman on Sept. 25.

District Attorney Matt Chandler said Friday the surrender was not pre-arranged and came as a surprise to investigators.

Casillas will be held without bond and will face grand jury proceedings within the next two weeks, Chandler said.

Gary Payne, 52, and Melissa Ward, 36, were each shot once in the head around 11 p.m. on Sept. 25 while traveling in a van near Clovis’ Charlotte Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, according to police.

The van they were in crashed into a cinderblock wall and police said they believe Casillas broke out the passenger window and fled the scene, leaving a trail of blood to a nearby residence.

The van was registered to Payne’s wife.

Witnesses who said they spoke to Casillas after the shooting told police he said he shot Payne, then shot Ward when she began screaming.

Earlier this week, a judge in Moore County Texas told the CNJ Casillas’ mother had been in contact with him and was trying to obtain legal counsel for him because he wanted to surrender.

Judge Rowdy Rhoades said Casillas’ mother believes the shooting was self-defense and hopes to prove his innocence.

Whitney said Casillas should be in Curry County by Friday night.