Black in action

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Josie Lamb of Clovis is one of the first customers to enter Triangle Ace Home Center in Clovis at 7 a.m. Friday as store manager Ron Scorzafava, right, unlocks and opens the door. (CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle) By Tonya Fennell and Ashley Lee: Freedom Newspapers Blanche Bentley was up with the sun Friday morning […]

Shooter sentenced to 16 years

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Jimmy Bentley, left, and defense attorney Randy Knudson listen to Sarah W. Phillips, mother of victim Joseph “J.J.” Phillips, give testimony during Bentley’s sentencing hearing Monday at the Curry County Courthouse. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Her shoulders trembling, Linda Bentley hung her head and hid her eyes after learning […]

Shooting victim’s family awaits sentencing

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Joseph “J.J.” Phillips was remembered by family members as a man with plenty of interests and a great love for family and friends. The man convicted of killing Phillips, Jimmy Lloyd Bentley, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday. (Courtesy photo) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Almost a year has passed since their loved one […]

Victim’s sister feels justice served

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Homicide defendant Jimmy Bentley sat unflinching Thursday as the judge announced the guilty verdict. Behind the defense table, Bentley’s wife dropped her head in her hands, her shoulders wracked with sobs. Across the courtroom aisle, the sister of shooting victim Joseph Phillips gently rubbed her mother’s back, her face […]

Bentley guilty of second-degree murder

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Linda Bentley, left, wife of defendant Jimmy Bentley and Sarah W. Phillips, mother of shooting victim Joseph Phiilips, embrace after the guilty verdict was read Thursday at the Curry County Court House. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer A Clovis jury on Thursday found Jimmy Bentley guilty of second-degree murder […]

Homicide defendant testifies to self-defense

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CNJ Staff Photo: Tony BullocksHomicide defendent Jimmy Bentley demonstrates during Wednesday’s trial how he held the pistol the night he shot an Oklahoma man outside a Clovis motel. By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Editor’s note: The following report contains a racial slur. Murder defendant Jimmy Bentley on Wednesday adamantly denied using a racial slur […]

Police officer testifies homicide suspect used racial slur

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Homicide defendant Jimmy Bentley, left, and defense attorney Randy Knudson listen to testimony Tuesday afternoon at the Curry County Courthouse. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks By sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Editor’s note: The following report contains a racial slur. A Christmas Eve murder suspect used a racial slur when he was taken into custody, […]

Shooting witness testifies

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The murder trial of Jimmy Bentley began Monday afternoon after most of the day was spent in jury selection. The only witness to take the stand was a former cab driver who saw the shooting. Wiping tears from his eyes, Richard Barry, 42, identified the man in a photo […]

Cops and courts: Clovis murder trial begins Monday

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The five-day murder trial for Jimmy Bentley is set to begin Monday in the 9th Judicial District Court. Bentley, 72, is accused of shooting and killing Joseph Phillips on Christmas Eve in the parking lot of Econo Lodge on Mabry Drive. Prosecutors have alleged Bentley, a white man, is […]

Prosecutors ask for testimony to be excluded

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer Prosecutors asked a judge to exclude testimony of a defense psychiatric expert from the murder trial of Jimmy Bentley during a hearing Friday in the 9th Judicial District Court. District Attorney Matt Chandler gave the court several reasons for wanting Dr. Samuel Roll stricken as a witness, including outdated […]