By Chelle Delaney: Freedom Newspapers
A martial arts fight promoter was arraigned Thursday in Quay County Magistrate Court on charges alleging he killed Albert “Jason” Pacheco, 31, of Tucumcari, on Feb. 1.
James Burleson, 33, of Socorro pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was released after posting a $100,000 bond.
Burleson, accompanied by his attorneys, turned himself over to authorities Thursday following the issuance of a warrant for his arrest May 25, police officials said.
Police said Burleson shot and killed Pacheco during a fight outside the Apollo Gym in Tucumcari, according to court documents.
The Quay County District Attorney’s office has advanced two theories regarding Burleson’s involvement in the death of Pacheco, according to the court documents. Evidence and court proceedings will determine which theory — if applicable — might lead to a conviction, records show.
The first is the death of Pacheco was second-degree murder and Burleson killed Pacheco without justification or excuse. If convicted of this charge, Burleson could face 19 years in jail.
The second is Burleson killed Pacheco without malice, “which was committed upon a sudden quarrel.” If convicted of this charge, Burleson’s maximum sentence could be 15 years.
According to an arrest affidavit, the men knew each other from participation in cage fighting, also known as martial arts fighting, and were to have fought in an event in Tucumcari Oct. 7, 2006.
At that time, Burleson taunted Pacheco with epithets, the document states.
“This fight did not occur but the defendant continued to taunt the decedent in his postings on MySpace.com …. and stated in his posting, … ‘I’ll just hit you in the parking lot,’ according to the documents.