Year in review: Shooting deaths investigated in 2010

PNT staff reports

Among this year’s more notorious crimes, a teenager was charged with killing a young woman who had befriended him, a man died after being shot in Dora, a fugitive was brought to trial after more than 16 years on the run and a Roosevelt County farmer was acquitted in a murder-for-hire case involving a hate group.

Slaying of Angel Vale

In July, 22-year-old Eastern New Mexico University student Angel Vale was found shot to death in the side yard of the house she shared with her boyfriend on North Avenue A.

Vale’s 13-year-old neighbor, DeAngelo Montoya, was charged with her murder and burglary of her house.

Because of the boy’s age, the maximum sentence he can face for first-degree murder charges is incarceration until age 21 with the Children, Youth and Families Department.

Police said Montoya burglarized Vale’s home several times in the weeks before the homicide, at times taking a .22-caliber rifle for target practice and then returning it.

Officers found the gun in a trash bin near the boy’s home.

Billy Joe Watson trial

In February, a Roosevelt County jury found area farmer William “Billy Joe” Watson not guilty of hiring a hit man to kill Causey rancher Jimmie Bo Chunn.

The jury also acquitted him of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine.

In November under a plea agreement, Watson pleaded guilty to federal charges of transporting anhydrous ammonia for methamphetamine manufacture across state lines. In exchange, federal prosecutors dropped charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Watson was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised probation after his release, a $25,000 fine and a $100 special penalty assessment, according to court documents. His attorney, Gary Mitchell, expected him to be released in the fall of 2011 with credit for time served.

Prosecutors said Watson contracted with Rogers native Donald Taylor, a low-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood criminal organization, to kill Chunn in exchange for anhydrous ammonia for meth manufacture. Then, they said, he provided the chemical to federal agents posing as Aryan Brotherhood members and told them he had Chunn killed for being irritating.

Mitchell said Taylor acted alone in killing Chunn, and Watson provided the anhydrous ammonia and lied about contracting for Chunn’s death because he feared the supposed Aryan Brotherhood members.

Mitchell said they took the federal plea agreement because federal law makes no allowances for entrapment and Watson wanted the case to end.

Navarette trial

Arnoldo Navarette was convicted in September of shooting and killing Portales resident Reynaldo Ornelas Sr. and wounding a bystander in 1993.

After the shooting, Navarette fled and was found working under an alias in Odessa, Texas, in June 2009.

In December, Navarette was sentenced to life plus three years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for convictions of first degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Under New Mexico law, a convict is eligible for parole after serving 30 years of a life sentence.

Dora shooting

In August, Kenneth Glasscock, 44, was shot once in the head in Dora and later died at a Lubbock hospital.

A grand jury found no grounds for criminal charges against the man police determined was the shooter. His name was never made public.

Police said during an altercation between the two men, Glasscock was carrying a weapon and the unidentified man’s wife came out of the house with a gun to break up the fight.

Police said Glasscock turned “as if to attack her,” and the woman’s husband took the gun and shot him.