Life of a bill

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By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers Eleven days remained Thursday until the onset of the 48th legislative session. The sun had set, night was near; but calm eluded Rep. Anna Crook. “My stomach is churning,” said Crook, R-Clovis. Constituent e-mails, letters and phone calls bounced in her head. Suggested laws. Suggested funding. Requests she finds reasonable, […]

Homicides in 9th Judicial District drop in 2006

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom Newspapers For the second straight year, the number of area homicides dropped in 2006. Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, chief law enforcement officer for Curry and Roosevelt counties, said three homicides occurred in the district in 2006 — down from six in 2005 and 12 in 2004. All three 2006 […]

Escapee caught in Texas

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers An escaped inmate from the Curry County Adult Detention Center was arrested Thursday without incident in Dimmitt, Texas, according to Dimmitt police. Guadalupe Rodriguez, 29, was arrested by local police about 8:30 a.m. (CST) at a Dimmitt hotel, according to police. “We knocked on the door and that’s when we […]

Convicted felon perishes in prison

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A man convicted of brutally raping and murdering a Clovis convenience store clerk more than 30 years ago died Tuesday in a state prison. Stanley Deon Melton, who suffered a long battle with cancer and was seriously ill, was 66, prison officials said Friday. Melton died Tuesday while in long-term […]

Garcia receives five-year sentence

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor A Portales woman was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday on charges related to the embezzlement of $139,164 from two employers, according to a news release from the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office. Tammy Jo Garcia, 34, of Portales pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement, one count […]

Fuller sentencing set for Thursday

PNT Staff Sentencing for Jerry Wayne Fuller of Portales in connection with the 2005 slayings of Odis and Doris Newman, an elderly Portales couple, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. In early October, Fuller pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping as […]

New evidence found in death penalty case against area dentist

Freedom Newspapers New evidence was discovered Tuesday in the death penalty case against a Clovis dentist accused of killing a 30-year-old mother of two and leaving her body in a rural ditch, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said. Members of the Curry County Major Crimes Unit found the evidence during a search at 316 […]

Suspect waives hearing

Freedom Newspapers Homicide suspect John “Pooh” Cameron waived his right to a grand jury hearing Friday, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Cameron, 24, is charged with second-degree murder and three counts of tampering with evidence in connection with the Oct. 16 shooting death of Amos Soliz, 19, in front of a home […]

Pornography sting nets ENMU student

PNT Staff Report Freedom Newspapers An Eastern New Mexico University student is among more than 100 arrested in connection with a nationwide child pornography investigation, according to a press release from 9th Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler’s office. Matthew Coker, 21, a 2004 Clovis High graduate, was taken into custody by federal Immigration and Customs […]

Man pleads guilty to embezzlement

PNT Staff Report A 23-year-old Portales man signed a plea agreement last week in connection with the theft in March of more than $600,000 from an armored car service that employed him, according to court documents filed in 9th Judicial District Court in Portales. According to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, Scott Kirby agreed […]

Suspects in Clovis homicide arrested

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A 24-year-old Clovis man has been charged with murder in connection with Monday’s shooting death of a Clovis teen, according to police. John T. Cameron, identified by police as the alleged shooter, was arrested about 3 a.m. Tuesday and charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence, […]

Guilty plea

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor Jerry Wayne Fuller avoided a possible death sentence Thursday in connection with the 2005 slaying of an elderly Portales couple. Ninth Judicial District Judge Stephen Quinn accepted Fuller’s guilty plea to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping as well as one count of tampering […]

Peanut harvest looks solid

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Recent sightings of peanut trailers coming in from the fields to be off-loaded at the local peanut mills means it’s harvest time again. Jimmie Shearer of Sunland, Inc. said the majority of the peanuts being harvested at this time are from the Texas area, although a few are starting […]

Bentley guilty in Clovis murder

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A Clovis jury on Thursday found Jimmy Bentley guilty of second-degree murder for the Christmas Eve shooting death of an Oklahoma photo salesman. The announcement capped a four-day trial in the 9th Judicial District Court in which prosecutors argued Bentley’s shooting of Joseph Phillips, 48, outside a Clovis hotel was […]

Cannon police officer arrested for attempting to lure child

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A high-ranking enlisted military police officer at Cannon Air Force Base was charged Friday with attempting to entice an 11-year-old girl over the Internet into having sexual relations with him, according to the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office. The arrest comes after a lengthy investigation by state police and Air […]

District attorneys’ offices moving

By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer The staff of the 9th Judicial District Attorney in Roosevelt and Curry counties will experience a change of scenery by the end of this year, according to a news release from 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. The district attorney’s offices in both Portales and Clovis are moving from […]

Smith case counsel changes third time

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers A third attorney has taken over as defense counsel in the death penalty case of a Clovis dentist accused of murdering a 30-year-old mother of two and leaving her body in a rural Curry County ditch. Also, District Attorney Matt Chandler told the court at a hearing Thursday morning he […]

Portales man convicted of sex crimes

Freedom Newspapers A Portales jury late Tuesday convicted a 36-year-old Portales man of eight counts of criminal sex crimes involving a child under the age of 13, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Darrell Casillas, 36, of Portales was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual penetration and six counts of second-degree […]

Moisture coming at right time for parched crops

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By Michael Harrell: PNT Staff Writer The flash increase of rain in recent weeks has farmers in the region pleased, but it still isn’t enough to compensate for the drought plaguing the normally arid climate, according to agriculture officials. “It has been an extremely difficult year,” said Jimmy Shearer, the manager of Sunland Peanuts Inc. […]

Former deputy gets five years on sex charge

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By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer The Portales News-Tribune does not routinely name victims of sexual assault. In this case, the victim has agreed to be publicly identified. CLOVIS — A former Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputy will spend five years in prison for having sex with a female inmate. Ninth Judicial District Judge Ted Hartley […]