Selection continues in Bedford trial

Staff and Wire Reports

ALBUQUERQUE — Jury selection continued Tuesday in the trial of Stanley Bedford, who is accused in the killing of Odis and Doris Newman of Portales.

Bedford, 43, of Portales is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and evidence tampering and one count of possession of stolen property.

Currently, 75 potential jurors are being individually questioned regarding their opinions on the death penalty.

“Right now, we’re really focusing on jurors who can guarantee they’ll be impartial to the state and the defense,” 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Chandler is seeking the death penalty.

Schedule: “Rightfully so, it’s been a very methodical process,” Chandler said, “and we believe we’re on schedule to begin presenting evidence on Tuesday morning.”

The goal, Chandler said, is to get 12 main jurors and as many as four alternates.

Chandler didn’t think evidence would be introduced before Tuesday. He expects a long process, and said jury selection could go through Tuesday. In any case, the court will be off for Memorial Day.

The trial was moved to Albuquerque after both Chandler and Bedford attorney Gary Mitchell of Ruidoso agreed on the difficulty of finding an impartial jury in Roosevelt County.

Judge Stephen Quinn of the 9th Judicial District is presiding over the trial.

The bodies of Odis Newman, 70, and his wife, Doris Newman, 69, were found March 3, 2005. According to court documents, the Newmans were alive when they were put into the trunk before the car was set on fire.

Jerry Fuller of Portales, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced Jan. 17 to 127 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping and charges of tampering with evidence, assault on a police officer and aggravated burglary.