Clovis dentist no longer part of inquiry

The Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY — A New Mexico dentist serving life in prison for murder is no longer a “person of interest” in the unsolved killings of several prostitutes in the Lawton area. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said James Smith, who once attended the University of Oklahoma, is no longer […]

McNaughton case slated for feature on Court TV

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers The case of a Clovis woman killed by a local dentist will be featured on a nationally televised crime show. In mid-April, family and friends of Laura McNaughton and local law enforcement participated in interviews and investigation reenactments and provided photos for the show “Body of Evidence: From the Case […]

Smith prison bound

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Editor’s note: Content in this report may be offensive to some readers. Laura McNaughton’s family had strong words for the Clovis woman’s convicted killer during a sentencing hearing Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse. Maria Beardmore, the victim’s mother, asked defense counsel to move so she could see James Smith […]

Dentist enters plea

By Sharna Johnston: Freedom Newspapers A Clovis dentist facing the death penalty in connection with the 2005 slaying of a Clovis mother has reached a plea agreement that will send him to prison for at least 57 years. In a barely audible voice from his seat at the defense table, James Smith answered “yes” as […]

Pursuit of death penalty OK’d

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Editor’s note: Content in this report may be offensive to some readers. A district judge ruled Monday probable cause exists to pursue the death penalty in the first-degree murder trial of a former Clovis dentist. Ninth Judicial District Judge Joe Parker made the ruling after the prosecution presented testimony Monday […]

Clovis homicide case marks anniversary

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom Newspapers It has been a year since Laura McNaughton’s lifeless body was discovered by hunters in a rural county ditch. That discovery, followed by subsequent news a local dentist had been arrested, deeply affected not only those who knew McNaughton, but many who came to know of her in death. Toni […]

Parents visit Clovis site where daughter slain

By Sharna Johnson By Sharna Johnson CNJ STAFF WRITER sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com On the edge of a desolate, wind-whipped field stands a small homemade cross wrapped in a pink feather boa. It was placed by a mother and father mourning their daughter. Thursday, for the first time, David and Maria Beardmore visited the ditch where the battered […]

McNaughton family shows appreciation to police

By Tonya Garner Local law enforcement members were recognized Monday by the family of Laura McNaughton, the 30-year-old Clovis woman found slain in a ditch last December. The somber-faced group gathered in a conference room on the third floor of the Curry County Courthouse as U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Jeff Scofield presented the members of […]

Smith lawyer wants evidence

By andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers The attorney representing accused killer James Smith on Monday complained to a district court judge that he’s not received evidence in the case, as required by law. Judge Joe Parker ordered prosecutors hand over the requested information by Friday. District Attorney Matt Chandler said he filed notice with the court […]

Smith attorney wants evidence

By Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers The attorney representing accused killer James Smith on Monday complained to a district court judge that he’s not received evidence in the case, as required by law. Judge Joe Parker ordered prosecutors hand over the requested information by Friday. District Attorney Matt Chandler said he filed notice with the court […]

Court records: Suspect tells police McNaughton died at his home

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Accused killer James Smith told police Laura McNaughton “died very quickly” at his home after they engaged in a “very physical embrace,” according to court documents unsealed Friday. In an interview with law-enforcement authorities, Smith said he placed McNaughton’s body on his back porch after she died, then went to sleep, […]

Smith indicted for rape, murder, kidnapping

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Clovis dentist James Smith was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for the murder, rape and kidnapping of Laura McNaughton and for three counts of tampering with evidence, according to a release from 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. Chandler said he will make a decision in 90 days on whether […]

Local dentist charged with murder

Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers Forensic evidence led to the arrest Tuesday morning of a local dentist with Portales ties suspected of killing Clovis resident Laura McNaughton. Police said James Smith, 36, of Clovis, is charged with an open count of murder. McNaughton, 30, was fatally strangled, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler. […]

Resident says Smith comes from good family

Tonya Garner: Freedom Newspapers Laura McNaughton’s family members told police a dentist had been “weirding” her out. The resulting investigation led to Tuesday’s arrest of Dr. James Smith, a dentist with La Casa de Buena Salud in Clovis and Portales, police records show. Smith is charged with an open count of murder in connection with […]

No arrests made in McNaughton homicide case

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Officials investigating Laura McNaughton’s homicide held their first press conference on Thursday, but released little additional information. McNaughton’s body was found Saturday in a ditch in the Pleasant Hill community north of Clovis. Officials said no arrests have been made and they refused again to release the cause of her death. […]

Rumors cloud recent slaying

David Stevens: Freedom Newspapers Rumors about the region’s most recent homicide are frustrating law-enforcement officers as they attempt to verify or dispel them, Curry County Undersheriff Doug Bowman said on Wednesday. “We’re just getting lots of phone calls … we’re having to make contacts to see who these people are spreading these rumors and it’s […]

Clovis police investigating homicide

By Sharna Johnson Laura McNaughton was probably not a random homicide victim, Curry County’s undersheriff said on Tuesday. Doug Bowman said investigators are talking to “less than 10” people who may have knowledge about the 30-year-old Clovis woman’s slaying. Bowman said he believes McNaughton may have known her killer. Officials declined again on Tuesday to […]