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 […]

Court rules: “Lynching Lloyd” is out

By sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Prosecutors cannot reference murder-defendant Jimmy Bentley’s nickname during trial to infer a racial motive for the homicide, according to a ruling filed in district court Thursday. The ruling came after a hearing last week on pretrial arguments in the case. Citing case precedent, Judge Joe Parker ruled prosecutors can […]

Mental care sought for suspect

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer A Clovis judge ruled Tuesday a 72-year-old murder defendant be sent to the Department of Corrections so he may receive psychiatric care while he awaits trial. Jimmy Bentley’s mental condition has deteriorated since being in the jail, according to the testimony of Leslie Johnson, administrator of the Curry County […]

Slaying suspect returned to jail

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer A homicide suspect in a Christmas Eve shooting was returned to jail Monday after a district court revoked his bond over concerns about the conditions of his house arrest. Judge Joe Parker ordered Jimmy Bentley, 72, of Farmington held without bail at the Curry County Adult Detention Center. He […]

Judge questions system monitoring homicide suspect

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An employee of Hanks Bail Bonds shows an ankle bracelet that monitors the movement of suspects on bail to ensure they are following court-ordered restrictions. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer A Clovis judge held a hearing Monday to determine why an ankle bracelet used to track homicide defendant Jimmy Bentley […]

Martin, Lorraine C.

Lorraine Case Martin, 79, of Clovis, died Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006, at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis. She was born March 4, 1926, to George and Mary Daffin Case in Bentley, Okla. She married Glynn B. Martin on June 27, 1949, in Amarillo. She graduated from Murray State University in Tishomingo, Okla. She was […]

PRMC on par with rest of state

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Technician Bruce Hinchey processes patient specimens Tuesday in the laboratory at Plains Regional Medical Center. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Medical services at Plains Regional Medical Center are on par with those at other New Mexico hospitals, according to a new report available online. But that may not be the […]

Local Briefs (Jan. 7)

Man indicted by grand jury on murder charges A grand jury indicted Jim Bentley, 71, of Farmington on second-degree murder Friday in connection with the Christmas eve slaying of an Oklahoma man outside a Clovis motel, according to a release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Bentley is accused of shooting Joseph Phillips Jr., […]

Year in review: Number of homicides down sharply

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Curry and Roosevelt counties recorded three homicides each in 2005 — only half the number seen in the 9th Judicial District in 2004, but several touched large segments of area communities because the victims were well known and included three senior citizens and a 10-year-old boy. Officials said the […]

Suspect arraigned in motel slaying

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Linda Bentley talks with defense attorney Randy Knudson after Bentley’s husband, homicide suspect Jimmy Bentley, was arraigned Wednesday in Magistrate Court. (Staff photo: Andrew Chavez) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Prosecutor Matt Chandler said in court Wednesday the Christmas Eve slaying of a 48-year-old black man may have been racially motivated. The defense attorney […]

City hit with string of violent crimes

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Clovis recorded its third homicide of the year late Saturday, but that wasn’t the extent of the violence over the Christmas weekend. Clovis Police Lt. James Schoeffel said officers responded to five unrelated violent crimes between Christmas Eve and Christmas night. In addition to the homicide, an attempted armed […]