Garcia embezzlement case proceeds to jury trial

By Tony Parra A plea agreement was set for a Portales woman accused of embezzling more than $138,000 from the New Mexico Higher Education department but the two sides could not come to an agreement and instead the case will go to trial. Ninth Judicial District Judge Joe Parker presided over a scheduled pre-trial agreement […]

Perfection PHS band’s main goal

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By William P. Thompson The Portales High School band has already won a superior rating in marching band competition this year, and now the band hopes to get superior ratings at the concert band and sight reading district competition next week in Clovis. Jeremy Smith, an alto saxophone player in the band, said he is […]

Judge allows jailed dentist unrestricted communication

By Sharna Johnson Judge Joe Parker has denied a request by the district attorney’s office to restrict verbal and written communications between homicide suspect James Smith and potential state witnesses. Smith is accused of killing 30-year-old Laura McNaughton in December. After reviewing written arguments from defense attorney Stephen Doerr and 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt […]

Smith’s attorney resigns

By Sharna Johnson The attorney for former Clovis dentist and homicide suspect James Smith filed a motion Wednesday to withdraw from the case, according to court documents. Stephen Doerr cited two reasons for withdrawal in his motion to the court. Doerr stated he was not retained to represent Smith in a death penalty case. He […]

DA concerned about Smith’s witness contact

By Sharna Johnson District Attorney Matt Chandler asked a judge Thursday to stop all communications between a former Clovis dentist and potential state witnesses involved in James Smith’s murder case. Chandler said the conversations could compromise the testimony in Smith’s trial. Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Joe Parker said he will make a ruling on […]

DA to seek death penalty against dentist

By Andy Jackson District Attorney Matt Chandler plans to pursue the death penalty against a former Clovis dentist accused of bludgeoning a woman to death. Chandler said he will seek the death penalty against James Smith, 37, based on state statute and because New Mexico’s sentencing system does not include life without parole. Smith is […]

Rams finish second at Clovis Invitational

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers CLOVIS — Portales’ top golfers weren’t quite on their game Monday, so leave it to a relative newcomer to pick up the slack for the Rams. Freshman Rick Bergman shot 42-41 — 83 to help Portales slip past host Clovis and into second place in the Wildcats’ invitational golf tournament […]

Offensive line big focus for ENMU this spring

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By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers With four starters to replace from a year ago, Eastern New Mexico University’s football team is trying to sort things out in its offensive line during spring drills. Offensive line coach Draco Miller said the Greyhounds are making progress as they head into the final week of spring work. “Every […]

Blood donors give and feel good

By Marlena Hartz Reclining in a chair with a needle tapped into his vein, Art Smith embodied altruism. He joined more than 45 area residents Friday afternoon and donated a pint of blood to Lubbock United Blood Services. Smith has done so more than 10 times, and said he participates again and again in blood […]

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 […]

Smith’s trey pushes Dora to win

Freedom Newspapers Late heroics returned to Guy Luscombe Gymnasium Friday night, in the form of sophomore guard Clay Smith. Smith scored 10 points, the final three on a trey with two seconds left to give the Dora Coyotes a 56-54 win in a District 3-1A thriller Friday night. “That was our goal going into the […]

Curry starts over on jail administrator

By Tonya Garner The disappointment was evident in County Manager Dick Smith’s voice Friday afternoon when he reported county officials were unable to find a suitable person to fill the administrator position at Curry County Adult Detention Center. The position has been open since Don Burdine resigned in September. Smith said the seven interested candidates […]

Elida cruises into EPAC title game

By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer The Elida Lady Tigers spent Friday afternoon filling up the stat sheet, and the team was able to fill in its name to the final game in the Eastern Plains Athletic Conference tournament. Jewlie Paiz scored 16 points and stole eight Floyd passes and freshman guard Lindsey Bob Smith […]

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 […]

Murder suspect waives right to arraignment

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers The attorney representing murder suspect James Smith waived his client’s right to an arraignment hearing in district court on Wednesday. The Clovis dentist was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing Laura McNaughton, a single mother of two girls. McNaughton’s nude body was found by hunters on Dec. 10 in a ditch […]

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 […]

Dora improves to 2-0

Freedom Newspapers J.R. Gonzales had 17 points to lead a balanced effort as the Dora Coyotes improved to 2-0 on the season with a 64-45 victory Monday at Clovis Christian. Gonzales was one of two Coyote scorers in double figures, along with Tyler Wilhoit (10 points), and 10 Coyotes scored against the Eagles. The Coyotes […]