Sheriff: Homicide case remains priority

By Robin Fornoff

CMI PROJECTS EDITOR

rfornoff@cnjonline.com

Curry County’s oldest unsolved homicide remains a priority for the sheriff’s office and lead investigator Sandy Loomis.

“I don’t like to be beaten,” said Loomis, who knew 67-year-old J.C. Tucker and has been involved in the investigation since the Clovis businessman was found shot to death 10 years ago this month.

Tucker’s body was found at his business, Tucker Auto Sales and Tucker Self-Storage on U.S. 60-84 near Cannon Air Force Base. He had been dead for several hours, gunned down with a handgun investigators believe was either a .380 or .357 caliber.

Tucker was shot three times. The murder weapon was never found. Ballistics on bullets recovered from Tucker’s body were used to narrow down the caliber, according to Loomis and Undersheriff Wesley Waller.

Tucker was a

colorful character. Boisterous sometimes to the point of being offensive, he was known to carry wads of cash and he had a lot of enemies, according to Loomis and Tucker’s daughter, Jackie Davidson of Hereford.

Theories on a motive have alternated over the years from robbery to a planned execution by someone who knew him.

Loomis is tight-lipped about what he thinks happened, but convinced he knows.

“I think I know,” said Loomis, “but what I think I know doesn’t matter if I can’t prove it in court.”

Loomis said the case is complicated by the lack of witnesses or physical evidence. Retesting with new crime lab techniques has yielded some new DNA evidence he isn’t willing to disclose. There is still a list of suspects or persons of interest, at one time including about 25 people.

Many have been cleared.

Loomis said he recently tried to convince one suspect to confess during a telephone conversation. “That,” Loomis said, “isn’t going to happen.”

There have been numerous trips over the years to other states to interview witnesses or suspects. Any kind of publicity usually leads to someone coming forward with new evidence. Many turn out to be criminals who tell stories looking for a break in their case for cooperating, a practice known in law enforcement circles as “jumping on the bus.”

Most of it leads to the same dead end, according to Loomis.

For Davidson, 53, now in failing health, the lack of closure on her father’s slaying is frustrating and emotionally draining. She makes an effort to visit Loomis and others involved in the case every year near the anniversary of the Sept. 4 slaying.

“They have told me all along the only thing that’s going to solve it is if somebody starts talking,” said Davidson.

She has her own theory on who killed her father but like Loomis, no proof. She has compiled what she calls a book of documents, news clippings and other details about the case.

“I’ve said I’ve got a purpose,” Davidson said. “I’m not through. I’m not giving up on it.”

Davidson said she still believes investigators will crack the case because “I do believe in miracles.”

“I’m learning,” she said, “I’m working on coming to peace with it. I just haven’t got rid of it yet. It’s hard to move past it.”

Loomis said with any new development, and they are few in this decade-old case, he is tormented by the frustration.

“I wake up at 3 in the morning trying to figure out what I might have missed,” Loomis said. “I think about it. Talk about it. Review my notes.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We have victims … family members that need to see justice and to see some closure.”