Second brother charged with murder in April slaying of Portales teen

Freedom Newspapers

A second man was indicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the death of a woman whose body was found buried in his back yard.

Clifford Baca, 20, also faces charges of tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection with the death of 19-year-old Amber Robinson, according to District Attorney Matthew Chandler.

Baca’s younger brother, 18-year-old Richard Baca, has already been indicted on charges of first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

The case against the elder Baca became clear after the Office of the Medical Investigator released the last evidence in the homicide, officials said.

“We have gotten to the point where all of the evidence from the OMI is in and we can prove at this point that Richard did not act alone,” said Donna Mowrer, a prosecutor with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “The autopsy information told us that the cause of death was asphyxiation, meaning she was alive when she was buried.”

The elder Baca is presently incarcerated at the Roosevelt County Detention Center, awaiting arraignment in district court. He is being held on a $150,000 cash-only bond.

Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said the second arrest was made after the department received information on “a variety of things” that helped the police come to the conclusion that Robinson’s killing was not a one-person act.

Robinson was reported missing by her family on April 26. When her family could not locate her, police launched an investigation and found her body on May 7 buried at the Baca home.

Richard Baca’s trial is set to begin Feb. 14, but Mowrer said the date may change if prosecutors decide to try both brothers in one trial.

“That’s something that Mr. Chandler and I will be discussing,” Mowrer said.