New evidence found in slaying

CNJ Staff

New evidence was discovered Tuesday in the death penalty case against a Clovis dentist accused of killing a 30-year-old mother of two and leaving her body in a rural ditch, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Members of the Curry County Major Crimes Unit found the evidence during a search at 316 Diamondhead Drive, the residence of dentist James Smith’s father, Tommy Joe Smith, according to Chandler.

“Due to the sensitivity of the investigation,” Chandler said he would not comment on the nature of the evidence found.

A continuing investigation of the James Smith case indicated additional evidence was inside the 316 Diamondhead residence, Chandler said.

He would not comment on whether the evidence would be used in the case against James Smith, which is scheduled to be heard in May, nor would he comment on whether it would significantly alter the case.

“The D.A.’s office is filing a motion to seal the affidavit of the search warrant due to the sensitivity of the contents of the search warrant,” he said.

A woman who answered the telephone at 316 Diamondhead Drive said of the search, “I have no comment.

“It’s nobody’s business.”

The search will not result in any charges against the homeowners, Chandler said. He would not comment on whether the search would result in additional charges against James Smith.

Agents from the Curry County’s Sheriff’s Office, Clovis Police Department, New Mexico State Police and 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office conducted the search from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Chandler said.

Laura McNaughton’s body was discovered by hunters Dec. 10 in a Curry County ditch.

The case against James Smith is expected to be heard by Curry County 9th Judicial District Judge Joe Parker in May, Chandler said.