A witness described seeing his coworker beat a 51-year-old Tucumcari truck driver to death with a rock after the two had an argument in the early morning hours Thursday.
The witness, an employee of a Roswell milk testing company, said he, Brandon Barela and Ronnie Hittson had left a Clovis bar together and, “went to score some dope,” according to an arrest affidavit filed in Curry County Magistrate Court.
Barela is being held a the Curry County Adult Detention Center on a $500,000 bond after he was arrested in Roswell on Friday and charged with an open count of murder.
He was already in the custody of Roswell police being questioned on an unrelated matter at the time of his arrest, the affidavit said.
Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said previously there could be more arrests in connection with the slaying, though as of Monday, no other arrests had been made.
The witness told police after leaving the bar, he Barela and Hittson drove a long way and had turned back toward Clovis when Barela and Hittson began arguing and Hittson asked him to stop the truck so he could walk.
The man told police when he stopped, Barela got out with Hittson and, “went off and started beating the guy with a rock,” then got back in the truck covered in blood, the affidavit said.
Hittson’s body was found at State Road 523 and Sugarbeet Road by a passing truck driver just before 7 a.m. Thursday.
According to the affidavit, Hittson had sustained major injuries to his face.
The only identifying article found with the body was a key chain engraved with the words, “To Ron with love from Katlyn.”