2005 Clovis murder case to be featured on Court TV

CNJ Staff The 2005 murder of Clovis’ Laura McNaughton will be the subject of a national television show set to air on Aug. 18-19, according to an online Court TV schedule. The airing time for the half-hour documentary could be either 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. (East Coast feed) or 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. […]

Court TV plans to air local homicide case

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File photo By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The case of a Clovis woman killed by a local dentist will be featured on a nationally televised crime show. In mid-April, family and friends of Laura McNaughton and local law enforcement participated in interviews and investigation reenactments and provided photos for the show “Body of Evidence: […]

Plea satisfies victim’s family

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The sisters of Laura McNaughton, Krystal Beardmore, front, and Jacqueline Beardmore, rear, weep after speaking at the sentencing of James Smith Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks) By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer A grain of peace has been given the family of a slain Clovis mother by a Tuesday […]

Dentist headed to prison

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James Smith signs a plea agreement Tuesday morning, while CO-Counsel for defense Rebecca Reese,left, looks on. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Editor’s note: Content in this report may be offensive to some readers. Laura McNaughton’s family had strong words for the Clovis woman’s convicted killer during a sentencing hearing Tuesday […]

Death penalty motion OK’d

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James Smith,right, is escorted into the court room of Judge Joe Parker at the Curry County Courthouse Monday afternoon by Transport Officer Cliff Chilcoat. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Editor’s note: Content in this report may be offensive to some readers. A district judge ruled Monday probable cause exists […]

Impact of McNaughton slaying still lingers

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David and Maria Beardmore placed a cross to mark the location where the body of their daughter, Laura McNaughton, was found a year ago. (File photo) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Case file • The victim: Laura McNaughton, 30, mother of two. Her nude body was found Dec. 10, 2005, by hunters near Pleasant […]

Slaying victim’s family visits site

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CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson David and Maria Beardmore view a cross they placed Thursday to mark the location where the body of their daughter, Laura McNaughton, was found by hunters in December. By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer On the edge of a desolate, wind-whipped field stands a small homemade cross wrapped in a […]

Mother mourns lost daughter

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A plaque at the Curry County Courthouse was placed by the Clovis chapter of the New Mexico Homicide Survivors group as a memorial for victims of violent crimes. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Maria Beardmore lost a daughter last December. She said she also lost her best friend when Laura […]

McNaughton family honors police

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Matt Chandler, left, district attorney for the 9th Judicial District Court, accepted a flag from U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Jeff Scofield Monday at the District Attorney’s office. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson) By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer Local law enforcement members were recognized Monday by the family of Laura McNaughton, the 30-year-old Clovis woman found […]

DA plans to pursue death penalty against Smith

By Rick White: CNJ managing editor District Attorney Matt Chandler plans to pursue the death penalty against a former Clovis dentist accused of bludgeoning a woman to death. Chandler said he will seek the death penalty against James Smith, 37, based on state statute and because New Mexico’s sentencing system does not include life without […]

Laura McNaughton

Laura McNaughton, 30, of Clovis, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005, in Clovis. She was born Aug. 24, 1975, in San Diego to David and Maria “Lucky” Moreno Beardmore. She moved to Clovis in August 2002. She was currently working at the Rib Crib and was a student at Wayland Baptist, where she was working toward […]

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 […]

Court records: Suspect tells police McNaughton died at his home

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Accused killer James Smith told police Laura McNaughton “died very quickly” at his home after they engaged in a “very physical embrace,” according to court documents unsealed Friday. In an interview with law-enforcement authorities, Smith said he placed McNaughton’s body on his back porch after she died, then went to sleep, […]

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 […]

Murder suspect waives arraignment

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The attorney representing murder suspect James Smith waived his client’s right to an arraignment hearing in district court on Wednesday. The Clovis dentist was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing Laura McNaughton, a single mother of two girls. McNaughton’s nude body was found by hunters on Dec. 10 in […]

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 […]

Police: Suspect knew victim

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer Laura McNaughton’s family members told police a dentist had been “weirding” her out. The resulting investigation led to Tuesday’s arrest of Dr. James Smith, a dentist with La Casa de Buena Salud in Clovis and Portales, police records show. Smith is charged with an open count of murder in […]

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 […]

Dentist arrested in Clovis homicide investigation

Forensic evidence led to the arrest this morning of local dentist James Smith in the slaying of Laura McNaughton, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Smith, who practiced dentistry in Clovis and Portales, is being held at Curry County Adult Detention Center on an open count of murder, Chandler said. Police issued a […]

Police secrecy counterproductive in homicide case

Freedom Newspapers Last weekend’s discovery of a body in a ditch north of Clovis has spurred a series of frightening rumors that spread rapidly through the region’s coffee houses and restaurants, via neighborly conversations and water-cooler chitchat. And some of that spilled over into a stream of phone calls to media outlets and local law-enforcement […]