Death penalty can be sought in Bedford trial

By Freedom Newspapers

District Court Judge Steven Quinn refused to bar the death penalty Friday in the case of a man accused of killing an elderly Portales couple in 2005.

Defense attorney Gary Mitchell of Ruidoso argued the constitutionality of the New Mexico death penalty in a broad series of motions heard by the judge on Monday. Mitchell’s client, Stanley Bedford, 43, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges related to the death of Odis and Doris Newman.

“I find those arguments very interesting, but I don’t find myself in a position to bar the death penalty,” Quinn said.

Jury selection for Bedford’s trial is slated to begin May 21 in Albuquerque. The defense was granted a change of venue based on pre-trial publicity.

The court has set aside six weeks for a trial and possible death-penalty phase.