Father anxiously awaits word of trial

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The father of a homicide victim is left anxiously hoping enough evidence was presented at last week’s military hearing at Cannon Air Force to warrant a trial. Donald Bollman traveled from Conway, Ark., to attend the three-day hearing, wanting to see justice for his daughter, Kimberly Novak, who was […]

No-knock ruling will lead to abuse

Freedom Newspapers In Hudson v. Michigan, handed down Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court carved out yet another “drug war exception” to the Fourth Amendment, which was written to protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons and homes. Unfortunately, the ruling is likely to lead to more military-style no-knock raids of people’s homes […]

Attorneys agree airman case circumstantial

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The prosecution and defense agreed on one thing at the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing to determine if a Cannon Air Force Base airman should stand trial for murder in connection with his wife’s death: the case hinges on circumstantial evidence. Defense attorney Maj. Shawn Vandenberg told the hearing […]

DNA study bad news for mouse, endangered species list

Freedom Newspapers We’ve seen a lot of nuttiness routinely perpetrated in the name of the Endangered Species Act as a way of protesting the U.S. Senate’s refusal to act on ESA reform this year. One of the most bizarre ESA sagas involves the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. The story, much like Alice’s Wonderland, just gets […]

Congress subject to same laws as rest of us

By Steve Chapman: Syndicated columnist The Bush administration has a habit of misreading the Constitution, pushing its powers as far as possible and expecting Congress to meekly go along. But now the House of Representatives has decided to fight back — not by asserting its rightful prerogatives, but by misreading the Constitution, pushing its powers […]

Guilt, innocence only real factors in Duke case

Freedom Newspapers Just what America needs, yet another highly charged nationally publicized court case that deals with race, class and sex. Of course, the indictments against two Duke University lacrosse team members, for allegedly assaulting and raping an exotic dancer at a recent party, are the stuff that 24-hour cable news shows thrive upon. As […]

America should lead by example, not by force

Freedom Newspapers Among the long-term hopes for the war in Iraq was that ousting Saddam Hussein from power and establishing a reasonably democratic form of government would provide a model of freedom and stability that would inspire others in the region and lead eventually to a more secure region. U.S. officials still talk bravely as […]

Convicted killer asks for delay in sentence

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer A defense attorney says he will ask to delay sentencing for a convicted killer because DNA that hasn’t been processed could prove his client’s innocence. Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said the DNA in question would not exonerate Steven Duran of Clovis, who was convicted of a Jan. […]

Accused killer seeks evidence against him

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James Smith, left, listens during his first hearing Monday, requested by his lawyer, Stephen Doerr. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The attorney representing accused killer James Smith complained Monday to a district court judge that he’s not received evidence in the case, as required by law. Judge Joe Parker ordered […]

Clovis dentist indicted

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Clovis dentist James Smith was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for the murder, rape and kidnapping of Laura McNaughton and for three counts of tampering with evidence, according to a release from 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Chandler said he will make a decision in 90 days […]

Trial of three brothers postponed

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The murder trial of three brothers charged in connection with a 10-year-old boy’s death will be postponed so that attorneys can receive and review forensic evidence. Prosecutor Andrea Reeb asked District Court Judge Joe Parker to push back the trial that had been scheduled for next month to at […]

Dentist arrested in homicide

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City and county emergency personnel responded to 464 State Road 523 on Dec. 13 in response to a 911 call for a possible attempted suicide. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Forensic evidence led to the arrest Tuesday morning of a local dentist suspected of killing Laura McNaughton. Police said James […]

Arrest affidavit from McNaughton slaying released

Here is the affidavit for arrest warrant filed with the 9th Judicial District Court by Clovis Police Detective Roman J. Romero: On 121005 at about 1424 hours, Deputies of the Curry County Sheriffs Office and the New Mexico State Police were dispatched to the area of Curry County Road C and County Road 16. Two […]

Q&A: Forensic chief talks bullets, fingerprints, blood

Ann Talbot, 50, is the forensic laboratories bureau chief for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety in Santa Fe. Talbot holds her Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry and has been the lab’s bureau chief for nine months. Clovis law enforcement officers send bullets, blood and fingerprints to the Santa Fe lab. […]

Expert combats crime with computers

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer For the last four years, Dennis Usery, 47, has been a man the public doesn’t see — a pivotal person behind thousands of criminal case investigations from the 9th judicial District Attorney’s Office, New Mexico State Police and local law enforcement agencies. Usery is the Information Systems Manager for […]

Murder trial begins Monday

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer On Monday morning the selection of the jury for the trial of Steven Robert Duran will begin at the 9th District Court in Clovis. Duran, 36, has been charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 13, 2004, shooting death of Ricardo Gallegos. Gary C. Mitchell, Duran’s attorney, said […]

Police: No evidence suggests kidnapping took place

CNJ staff State police are continuing to investigate, but said they have no reason to believe a kidnapping happened earlier this week in Fort Sumner. Public information Officer Lt. Jimmy Glascock said the state police criminal investigation unit was called to Fort Sumner about 9:30 a.m. Monday to handle the case in northeast Fort Sumner. […]

Clovis man gets two life sentences

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Dominic Murphy was sentenced to a minimum of 60 years in prison Tuesday for the killings of Alex Rodriguez, 29, and Wesley Griest, 39. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Dominic Murphy showed no emotion Tuesday when he was sentenced to two life terms in connection with the 2003 shooting deaths […]

Slaying suspect may make deal

Freedom Newspapers PORTALES — Prosecutors say a plea agreement may be reached before a Portales teen goes on trial Monday for murder. Richard Baca, 19, of Portales, is accused of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. His trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. before Ninth Judicial Court Judge Steven Quinn, but Ninth District […]

Clovis man convicted of two counts of first-degree murder

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Dominic Murphy, seated next to his attorney Abigail Aragon, reacts to the reading of his guilty verdict on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of tampering with evidence in the murder trial. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth) By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A Clovis man found guilty of first-degree murder Saturday exited […]