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 Fuller, 33, also faces two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the Newmans’ deaths. His trial is set to begin June 19.
A Roosevelt County grand jury indicted the two men in late March.
But a Roosevelt County jury may not try the cases. Bedford’s attorney said Friday he may seek a change of venue.
“I love this part of the state,” said Gary Mitchell, a Ruidoso attorney representing Bedford. “My concern is whether we can get enough jurors to try the case. This is a high-profile case.”
Prosecutor Matthew Chandler said if any change of venue is granted, the trial could be moved to Clovis. Mitchell said if the trial is moved it should be outside of Roosevelt and Curry Counties.
“We will oppose any change of venue,” Chandler said. “I believe they can receive a fair trial in Portales. It’s obvious the defense wants to have the case as far away from the community as possible. I believe the case can be handled within the district.”
Quinn is requiring any change of venue request to be filed with the courts by the end of the year.
Quinn ruled Friday that different jury panels will be selected for the murder suspects.
Prosecutors entered a motion seeking the death penalty in June.
The last death penalty case tried in the 9th Judicial District happened more than six years ago, when then-district attorney Randall Harris successfully prosecuted Michael Treadway for the death of Texico resident Everett Clint “Red” Prather.
The death penalty was overturned on appeal and Treadway’s now serving life in prison.
According to arrest warrant affidavits, Fuller, the Newmans’ nephew by marriage, told police he and Bedford went to the Newmans’ home on March 2. After being let in, Bedford is accused of striking Odis Newman with a pipe. When Doris Newman tried to call 911, Fuller stopped her and bound her with duct tape, court records allege.
The men put the Newmans in the trunk of the Newmans’ car and drove to the countryside where they doused the car with an accelerant and set it on fire, the arrest warrant affidavit states.