Police officer testifies homicide suspect used racial slur

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Homicide defendant Jimmy Bentley, left, and defense attorney Randy Knudson listen to testimony Tuesday afternoon at the Curry County Courthouse. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks By sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Editor’s note: The following report contains a racial slur. A Christmas Eve murder suspect used a racial slur when he was taken into custody, […]

Prosecutors ask for testimony to be excluded

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer Prosecutors asked a judge to exclude testimony of a defense psychiatric expert from the murder trial of Jimmy Bentley during a hearing Friday in the 9th Judicial District Court. District Attorney Matt Chandler gave the court several reasons for wanting Dr. Samuel Roll stricken as a witness, including outdated […]

Mental care sought for suspect

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer A Clovis judge ruled Tuesday a 72-year-old murder defendant be sent to the Department of Corrections so he may receive psychiatric care while he awaits trial. Jimmy Bentley’s mental condition has deteriorated since being in the jail, according to the testimony of Leslie Johnson, administrator of the Curry County […]

Testimony details crime scene

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Airman Edward Novak II told emergency responders he found his wife dead in an upstairs bathroom with her head inside the toilet, according to testimony Tuesday from an agent with Cannon Air Force Base’ Office of Special Investigations. Special Agent Kelly Siler also said Novak told emergency responders the […]

Proceedings begin in Cannon case

CNJ staff Proceedings began Monday in a Cannon Air Force Base courtroom to determine if a base airman will stand trial for the homicide of his wife. The hearing comes more than 20 months after Kimberly Novak, 20, was found dead at the base home she shared with her husband and young daughter. She died […]

Request to restrict inmate’s contact with witnesses denied

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Judge Joe Parker has denied a request by the district attorney’s office to restrict verbal and written communications between homicide suspect James Smith and potential state witnesses. Smith is accused of killing 30-year-old Laura McNaughton in December. After reviewing written arguments from defense attorney Stephen Doerr and 9th Judicial […]

‘Ghetto preacher’ shares testimony with troubled teens across nation

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Willy “The Ghetto Preacher” Ramos, of Hollywood, Fla., talks with children between preaching sessions during teen youth day Saturday at the Clovis Seventh-Day Adventist Church. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer William “Willy” Ramos, who says he’s known as “the ghetto preacher,” visited Clovis’ Seventh Day Adventist Church from Hollywood, Fla., […]

Testimony shows blood found in suspect’s vehicle

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Steven Duran, left, listens to testimony along with his lawyer Gary Mitchell on Tuesday during Duran’s trial in the killing of Ricardo Gallegos at the Curry County Courthouse in Clovis. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Police found blood in the vehicle of a man accused of killing Ricardo Gallegos early […]

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 […]

Defendant in slaying takes stand

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Joel Cordova testifies Thursday in his trial for the slaying of 19-year-old Victor Estrada. Cordova is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence stemming from the July 26 incident. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A Clovis man accused of stabbing to death an acquaintance last year took the witness […]

Witnesses place defendant with alleged co-conspirator on night of slayings

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District Attorney Matt Chandler hands Darcee Hillford a statement during her testimony in the trial of Dominic Murphy on Thursday at the Curry County Courthouse. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Two state witnesses offered testimony Thursday that put Dominic Murphy and Joey Martinez together on the night two Clovis men […]

Prosecution presents graphic photos

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New Mexico State Police agent Timothy Argo explains the evidence he collected at the scene of the deaths of Alex Rodriguez, and Wesley Griest to the jury Wednesday during the trial of Dominic Murphy. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Defendant Dominic Murphy neither looked at nor displayed any emotion […]

Prosecution witness: Defendent shot two men

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Dominic Murphy, left, seated with his lawyer Roger Bargas, listens to testimony during his trial Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Lawyers for a Clovis man charged with two counts of first-degree murder sought to discredit a prosecution witness who admitted as a part […]

First-degree murder charge dropped in trial

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ staff writer Fernando Garcia no longer faces the possibility of life in prison after prosecutors dropped the most serious charge of first-degree murder for lack of evidence. Deputy District Attorney Bryan McKay told the court on Wednesday that testimony so far hasn’t provided enough evidence to prove Garcia acted intentionally […]

Rice and Clarke 9/11 testimony not too different

Freedom Newspapers National security adviser Condoleezza Rice was everything most people expected her to be — confident, on-message, in full command of a wide array of facts, self-assured and on balance reassuring. Unfortunately, in part because of the limited mission of the Sept. 11 commission to which she offered her testimony, her appearance offered little […]

Defense attacks alleged rape victim’s memory

By Mike Linn Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal has opted to withhold the name of the alleged victim in this case. The story contains some graphic descriptions that some readers may find objectionable. PORTALES — The alleged victim in the first of five rape cases against a Clovis man said Thursday in Portales district […]

Amaro trial enters second day

Cutline goes here cutline goes here cutline goes here Eric Butler Prosecutors called eight witnesses to the stand in the first-degree murder trial of Pedro Amaro on Wednesday. Amaro is being tried in connection with the April 2001 death of Kenneth Smith of Clovis. He could face life in prison if convicted. Amaro’s girlfriend at […]