Guilt, innocence only real factors in Duke case

Freedom Newspapers Just what America needs, yet another highly charged nationally publicized court case that deals with race, class and sex. Of course, the indictments against two Duke University lacrosse team members, for allegedly assaulting and raping an exotic dancer at a recent party, are the stuff that 24-hour cable news shows thrive upon. As […]

America should lead by example, not by force

Freedom Newspapers Among the long-term hopes for the war in Iraq was that ousting Saddam Hussein from power and establishing a reasonably democratic form of government would provide a model of freedom and stability that would inspire others in the region and lead eventually to a more secure region. U.S. officials still talk bravely as […]

Convicted killer asks for delay in sentence

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer A defense attorney says he will ask to delay sentencing for a convicted killer because DNA that hasn’t been processed could prove his client’s innocence. Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said the DNA in question would not exonerate Steven Duran of Clovis, who was convicted of a Jan. […]

Accused killer seeks evidence against him

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James Smith, left, listens during his first hearing Monday, requested by his lawyer, Stephen Doerr. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The attorney representing accused killer James Smith complained Monday to a district court judge that he’s not received evidence in the case, as required by law. Judge Joe Parker ordered […]

Clovis dentist indicted

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Clovis dentist James Smith was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for the murder, rape and kidnapping of Laura McNaughton and for three counts of tampering with evidence, according to a release from 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Chandler said he will make a decision in 90 days […]

Trial of three brothers postponed

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 […]

Dentist arrested in homicide

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City and county emergency personnel responded to 464 State Road 523 on Dec. 13 in response to a 911 call for a possible attempted suicide. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Forensic evidence led to the arrest Tuesday morning of a local dentist suspected of killing Laura McNaughton. Police said James […]

Arrest affidavit from McNaughton slaying released

Here is the affidavit for arrest warrant filed with the 9th Judicial District Court by Clovis Police Detective Roman J. Romero: On 121005 at about 1424 hours, Deputies of the Curry County Sheriffs Office and the New Mexico State Police were dispatched to the area of Curry County Road C and County Road 16. Two […]

Q&A: Forensic chief talks bullets, fingerprints, blood

Ann Talbot, 50, is the forensic laboratories bureau chief for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety in Santa Fe. Talbot holds her Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry and has been the lab’s bureau chief for nine months. Clovis law enforcement officers send bullets, blood and fingerprints to the Santa Fe lab. […]

Expert combats crime with computers

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer For the last four years, Dennis Usery, 47, has been a man the public doesn’t see — a pivotal person behind thousands of criminal case investigations from the 9th judicial District Attorney’s Office, New Mexico State Police and local law enforcement agencies. Usery is the Information Systems Manager for […]

Murder trial begins Monday

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer On Monday morning the selection of the jury for the trial of Steven Robert Duran will begin at the 9th District Court in Clovis. Duran, 36, has been charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 13, 2004, shooting death of Ricardo Gallegos. Gary C. Mitchell, Duran’s attorney, said […]

Police: No evidence suggests kidnapping took place

CNJ staff State police are continuing to investigate, but said they have no reason to believe a kidnapping happened earlier this week in Fort Sumner. Public information Officer Lt. Jimmy Glascock said the state police criminal investigation unit was called to Fort Sumner about 9:30 a.m. Monday to handle the case in northeast Fort Sumner. […]

Clovis man gets two life sentences

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Dominic Murphy was sentenced to a minimum of 60 years in prison Tuesday for the killings of Alex Rodriguez, 29, and Wesley Griest, 39. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Dominic Murphy showed no emotion Tuesday when he was sentenced to two life terms in connection with the 2003 shooting deaths […]

Slaying suspect may make deal

Freedom Newspapers PORTALES — Prosecutors say a plea agreement may be reached before a Portales teen goes on trial Monday for murder. Richard Baca, 19, of Portales, is accused of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. His trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. before Ninth Judicial Court Judge Steven Quinn, but Ninth District […]

Clovis man convicted of two counts of first-degree murder

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Dominic Murphy, seated next to his attorney Abigail Aragon, reacts to the reading of his guilty verdict on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of tampering with evidence in the murder trial. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A Clovis man found guilty of first-degree murder Saturday exited […]

Condoleezza Rice not intimidated by Democrats

Freedom Newspapers Beyond well-phrased generalities, it is difficult to glean from Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just what kind of foreign policy a second Bush administration is likely to pursue — except that it will be what the president wants it to be. Unfortunately, few of the senators questioning the secretary […]

Drugs, money likely motive

By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor A Clovis man charged with killing his mother told police another man actually committed the homicide in an effort to collect on a drug debt. Dwight Wagner, 49, told police that Larry “Jake” Lucero, 38, killed Wagner’s mother, 75-year-old Essie Thomas, after the woman refused to hand over $300 […]

Doing homework makes debates worth watching

Freedom Editorial If you’re not careful, watching one of the presidential debates that begin this week could leave you spending 90 minutes to get nothing more than sound bites. However, with a little work, voters can take something from the debates between President George W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry. The debates begin Thursday […]

Diggin’ science

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Barry Elementary fifth-graders Ryan Curry, 10, left, and Michael Maese, 10, looks for articles in their plot during an archeological dig Friday at Highland Elementary. By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer Clovis scientists are starting young these days. Barry and Highland elementary combined for a science project that left students piecing together artifacts and deciphering […]

Homicide cases wait on DNA results

By Kevin Wilson: PNT Managing Editor A long wait for DNA evidence is a common point in Portales’ two homicide investigations. Seven weeks after the June 14 stabbing death of Jorge Prado of Clovis, no murder charges have been filed and police are still waiting on results of DNA tests conducted on knives and blood […]