Weekly update — Sept. 29

County settles with estate of accused killer

Curry County and its insurance carrier have agreed to pay $261,166 to the estate of an accused killer who hung himself while at the jail.

The settlement with the estate of Aaron Quinones was discovered among documents recently disclosed under a state Inspection of Public Records Act request filed with the county by Clovis Media Inc.

Quinones, 27, was found dead in his cell Sept. 26 after being left alone and not checked for more than an hour. He was awaiting trial, accused of the 2008 grisly murder of Elizabeth McAdams, 52, of Clovis.

A Dec. 3 letter from the county’s insurance carrier, the New Mexico Association of Counties’ Multiline Pool, notes the county is responsible for paying $15,000 of the settlement as part of its deductible.

Attached to settlement terms is an Oct. 29 email from Curry County Attorney Steve Doerr instructing commissioners not to disclose the settlement because it was sealed by a federal judge to protect Quinones surviving children.

Doerr notes commissioners would face contempt charges by announcing or disclosing the settlement.

“I remember that in an executive session where this case was discussed,” Doerr wrote, “there were several Commissioners who wanted to at least acknowledge to the public that the County had entered into a settlement … you cannot do that in this proceeding.”

— Robin Fornoff

City, county notified of possible lawsuit

An Albuquerque lawyer representing the estate of a man police said killed himself by deliberately walking into traffic in January has notified Clovis and Curry County of a possible lawsuit.

The notification — called a tort claim — was filed with the city and county April 5 by attorney Geoffrey Romero on behalf of Steve Plyler, 56, of Clovis. It was discovered recently in disclosures from the city and county in response to a state Inspections of Public Records Act request by Clovis Media Inc. The tort claim preserves the estate’s right to sue.

Plyler died Jan. 9 after walking in front of an SUV on Mabry Drive near the Hamilton Ford dealership. Clovis police had picked up Plyler an estimated 15 to 20 minutes before the fatality and dropped him off at a nearby hotel. Police said Plyler gave no indication of being suicidal when they left him at the motel.

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said the city hasn’t heard anything further from Romero and hasn’t been notified of any lawsuit being filed.

— Robin Fornoff