Man arrested in 1993 Roosevelt County slaying

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

A 38-year-old man has been arrested and charged with the 1993
shooting death of Reynaldo “Rey” Ornelas Sr. in Roosevelt County,
according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Arnoldo Navarrette was arrested near Odessa, Texas, Thursday and
charged with murder and aggravated battery, according to a news release
from the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. Friday, he was being held
at the Ector County jail without bond on an Immigrations and Customs
Enforcement detainer, according to an article in the Odessa American.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and Ninth Judicial District
Attorney’s Office are working to have Navarrette extradited to New
Mexico, according to the release.

Also according to the release, Navarrette’s wife of 18 years,
39-year-old Aurora Navarrette, is charged with hindering the
apprehension of a wanted fugitive, a third-degree felony.

According to the Odessa American, she posted the $5,000 bond Friday.

Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff’s Office in Odessa
said an Ector County Sheriff’s SWAT team assisted the U.S. Marshals
Service by executing a search warrant. According to the Roosevelt
County release, they found Navarrette hiding in the ceiling of the
residence and arrested him without incident.

Duesler said Arnoldo Navarrette had been living in the area under an
alias for some time. Both Navarrettes had both been in the Ector County
jail before, he said.

New Mexico and Texas law enforcement agencies collaborated with the
U.S. Marshals Service in an investigation that lasted more than a month
and led to the arrests.

There has been a warrant for Arnoldo Navarette’s arrest since the
May 30, 1993, shooting that left Rey Ornelas, 30, dead and his brother,
Danny Ornelas, wounded, according past issues of the Portales
News-Tribune.

According to the articles, witnesses accused Arnoldo Navarette, then
22, of firing a small-caliber handgun from the passenger side of a car
allegedly driven by his brother-in-law, then-28-year-old Dolores “Lolo”
Ortega.

Danny Ornelas was hit in the left arm and back, while Rey Ornelas
was hit in the chest and died while his 12-year-old son, other
relatives and friends watched.

The Portales News-Tribune reported that Lonnie Berry, then a
lieutenant with the Portales Police Department, said police believed
the motive for the shooting was connected to a long-standing feud
between the Ornelas and Navarrette families.

Arnoldo Navarrette’s then-24-year-old brother, Ismael Navarrette of
Clovis, was arrested days later for driving Arnoldo Navarrette out of
the area to avoid prosecution.

Ortega surrendered to police about a week and a half after the
shooting, according to a News-Tribune article. Friday, Berry, now a
captain, said Ortega was acquitted of charges.