Part 1: John Childers, killer who came to Clovis

By Don McAlavy: Local Columnist One of the first real shootouts in Clovis happened on Aug. 15, 1909. That’s one of the first stories I heard when I started writing about Clovis history. Old Tom Pendergrass, the first historian of Clovis, told me the story. He was a lad of 9, who was in the […]

Local Briefs (Jan. 7)

Man indicted by grand jury on murder charges A grand jury indicted Jim Bentley, 71, of Farmington on second-degree murder Friday in connection with the Christmas eve slaying of an Oklahoma man outside a Clovis motel, according to a release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Bentley is accused of shooting Joseph Phillips Jr., […]

Muleshoe man convicted of murder

By Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers MULESHOE — Family members of Vince Simnacher believe justice was served Friday when a Bailey County jury convicted a Muleshoe man of capital murder. Larry Kitchens, 53, was found guilty after 45 minutes of jury deliberation and sentenced to life in prison, according to 287th District Attorney Johnny Actkinson. Actkinson […]

Bail bondsman indicted for battery

Freedom Newspapers Clovis bail bondsman Hank Bayless was indicted Friday by a Curry County grand jury for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and breaking and entering, according to a press release from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s office. Bayless, 63, is accused of shooting Javier Sanchez, 33, and […]

Clovis bail bondsman faces grand jury investigation

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer A Clovis bail bondsman faces a grand jury investigation for his role in a Sept. 20 shooting that injured two people, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler. Chandler said the purpose of the investigatory grand jury is to determine if there is probable cause to file charges. […]

Suspects to face grand jury

CNJ Staff District Attorney Matt Chandler said Monday the four suspects charged with murder in connection with last month’s shooting death of a 10-year-old Clovis boy are scheduled to appear before a grand jury on Friday. Orlando Salas, 15, Demetrio Salas, 19, and Edward Salas, 21, are being held at Curry County detention facilities on […]

Trial dates set in slaying of Portales couple

By Tony Parra A man accused of killing an elderly Portales couple will go on trial a year from now. District Judge Stephen Quinn on Friday set Stanley Bedford’s jury trial for Sept. 5 through Oct. 13 next year. Bedford, 42, is accused of killing Odis Newman, 70, and Doris Newman, 69, in March. Jerry […]

Prosecutor says victim killed friend over money

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer A deputy district attorney told a Curry County jury Monday that Steven Robert Duran went to his friend’s trailer home asking for money. When the friend wouldn’t hand it over, the prosecutor said, Duran killed him. He said Duran, 36, a heroin addict, shot his friend six times, including […]

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 […]

8/14 Court Dispositions

The following criminal dispositions were filed in 9th Judicial District Court: • Aurelius M. Houston IV, 22, was found guilty on two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and is ordered to serve nine months less 10 days imprisoned by the Department of Corrections followed by one year supervised parole, submit a […]

Responsibility gains victory in cane field suit

Freedom Newspapers Most of us are familiar with the examples of the civil justice system gone awry — the woman who was awarded millions for spilling hot coffee on her lap; drunk drivers who sue because they get hurt when they crash their vehicles; and criminals who file suit when they get hurt committing their […]

Trial system rewarding irresponsibility

By Mona Charen: Syndicated Columnist The Heartland Institute (Chicago) does its bit for the gross national blood pressure by tracking the outrages of the world’s trial lawyers. The May newsletter offers the following examples: A jury in New Jersey has awarded $850,000 to a man who got drunk on New Year’s Eve and passed out […]

Jury delivers guilty verdict in slaying case

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A tearful procession exited the Curry County Courthouse on Friday afternoon just minutes after a jury delivered a guilty verdict against Joel Cordova for second-degree murder. After more than four hours of deliberations, the jury returned the verdict amid a crowded, yet subdued, courtroom. Beginning Tuesday, the state argued […]

Jury selection begins in murder trial

CNJ staff Jury selection begins today for a Clovis man facing first-degree murder and tampering with evidence charges. The charges stem from a July 26 incident, when according to police reports, Joel A. Cordova, 25, stabbed Victor Estrada in the chest during an altercation at 201 Pinon St. Estrada, 19, was taken to Plains Regional […]

Melrose man sentenced to 18 years

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A Melrose man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Monday for sexually assaulting another man in April 2004. A Curry County jury found Steve Woods, 33, guilty in December of criminal sexual penetration, a first-degree felony, and criminal sexual contact and false imprisonment, both fourth degree felonies. The […]

Suspect awaits grand jury hearing

Freedom Newspapers PORTALES — Jerry Fuller, one of two Portales residents accused of killing Odis and Doris Newman, is back in Portales and awaits a grand jury hearing today. Fuller, 32, had been hospitalized since March 8, when he was shot by police during his arrest. He was airlifted to Covenant Hospital in Lubbock for […]

Ex-jailer’s trial ends in hung jury

By William Thompson: Freedom Newspapers TUCUMCARI — Jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict after almost five hours of deliberations following former-jailer Robert Gonzales’ trial on Wednesday. Judge Ricky D. Purcell declared a mistrial. Prosecutor Donald Schutte has six months to retry Gonzales and said he plans on doing so. Gonzales faced two counts of […]

Reporters have moral obligation to keep promise

By Freedom Newspapers It’s encouraging that the investigation into who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name to the media is proceeding, even if at a snail’s pace. It’s discouraging that two reporters, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times, face the possibility of jail if they don’t reveal their […]

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 […]

Man indicted in connection with slaying: Cops and Courts

A Curry County grand jury on Friday indicted Larry “Jake” Lucero, 38, of Clovis, in connection with the Dec. 26 slaying of 75-year-old Essie Thomas, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. The grand jury charged Lucero with first-degree murder; kidnapping; and armed robbery, the release shows. The case against Dwight Wagner, […]