Jury selection in the first-degree murder trial for a third brother charged in the shooting death of a 10-year-old Clovis boy is set to begin Monday in Clovis.
Edward Salas, 23, faces life in prison if convicted.
The trial is scheduled for five days. Depending on how long jury selection takes, opening statements could begin as early as Monday, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.
Edward Salas’ younger brothers, Demetrio, 22, and Orlando Salas, 18, have already been convicted in the Sept. 15, 2005, shooting of Carlos Perez.
Perez died when a bullet fired through his bedroom window struck him in the head while he was sleeping. Police have said Perez’ older brother, Ruben Perez, was the intended target of the shooting.
In addition to the Salas brothers, two others have been charged in the shooting; David Griego, 31, and Noe Torres, 29.
Griego was convicted of second-degree murder in January and was sentenced to 16 years in prison while Torres remains at large.
Under New Mexico law, multiple defendants can be viewed as equally responsibility in a single homicide.
Chandler declined to discuss details of the upcoming trial, citing a desire to protect the jury selection process.
Public defender Stephen McIlwain of Albuquerque said he has been Salas’ attorney since September.
McIlwain said he is familiar with the trial of Demetrio Salas and Griego but said the case against his client is different.
“The allegations are different, so I’m not quite sure what to expect as far as the (direction) the (District Attorney’s) going. He has a different theory with Edward,” he said.
McIlwain, like Chandler, declined to elaborate much on the trial in the interest of preserving potential jurors.
Publicity has been a much discussed topic in the case.
Judge Joe Parker initially ordered a change of venue to Lovington due to high publicity. Judge Teddy Hartley, who took over the case when Parker retired from the bench in July due to health reasons, overturned the ruling Jan. 28, returning the trial in Curry County, court records show.
Demetrio Salas and Griego were tried in Roosevelt County under a similar ruling.
According to court records, more than 30 witnesses have been subpoenaed for Edward Salas’ trial, including his parents, brothers, Griego, members of the victim’s family, his friends and associates and multiple law enforcement officers and forensic experts.
Orlando Salas pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting in exchange for testimony against his brothers. He is in the custody of the Children Youth and Families Department until age 21.
Demetrio Salas was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years in January for first-degree murder. He will be required to serve a minimum of 40 years.