Suspects indicted in Newman deaths

Staff and wire reports

Two men were indicted by a Roosevelt County grand jury Friday in the deaths of Odis and Doris Newman.

Stanley Bedford and Jerry Fuller were each indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the deaths of the Newmans, District Attorney Matthew Chandler said. Odis Newman was 70, Doris Newman 69.

Fuller was also indicted Friday on one count of tampering with evidence and three counts of assault on a police officer. Fuller was wounded by police after he walked out of a garage at a friend’s home and ignored warnings to put down what turned out to be a pellet gun.

Bedford was also indicted on two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of possession of stolen property.

Bedford would face a maximum of 105 years if convicted on all counts, while Fuller would face up to 102 years. However, Chandler said the men could be charged with capital murder and would then be eligible for the death penalty.

“In New Mexico, one of the possibilities to consider the death penalty is an aggravated circumstance,” Chandler said, “which in this case would be the kidnapping charge.”

Chandler said the decision was yet to be determined on whether or not the prosecution would seek capital charges.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the Newmans were alive when they were placed in their car’s trunk and the car was set on fire.

Fuller, the couple’s nephew by marriage, told police he and Bedford went to the Newmans’ home on March 2. After being let in, Bedford struck Odis Newman with a pipe and when Doris Newman tried to call 911, Fuller stopped her and bound her with duct tape, according to the affidavit.

While Bedford waited at the house, Fuller tried unsuccessfully to use a debit card to withdraw $400 from the Newmans’ account, the affidavit states.

When Fuller returned, the men put the Newmans in the trunk of the car and drove to the countryside. They doused the care with an accelerant and set it on fire, the arrest warrant affidavit states.

Bedford’s second charge of tampering is for allegedly setting fire to the Newmans’ home on the afternoon of March 3.

Bedford was arrested days after the slayings. He and another man and woman tried to sell four rings belonging to Doris Newman at a pawn shop, according to police. Cynthia Peninger, 22, and her boyfriend Archie Crawford have been charged with possession of stolen property.

Chandler said each person would be arraigned within the next 10 days on their charges. Chandler said trials would be scheduled in June at the earliest.