Second man charged in Clovis homicide

By David Irvin

A second Clovis man has been charged in connection with last week’s slaying of Essie Thomas, 75, at her home on West Grand Avenue.
An arrest affidavit was filed Monday charging Larry “Jake” Lucero, 38, of Clovis with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Thomas. He also faces charges of first-degree kidnapping and robbery, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.
The victim’s son, Dwight Wagner, 49, was charged with killing Thomas last week.
Chandler said Lucero acted “in connection with” Wagner in Thomas’ beating death, but he would not elaborate on details of the charges.
Police Detective Kirk Roberts said the two suspects grew up in the same area and probably have known each other for some time. He said their relationship in recent times likely involved drugs.
Lucero is not related to the victim, Chandler said.
Chandler said the investigation into Lucero’s role in the homicide began Friday after Lucero was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Lucero is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.
According to a press release from Chandler’s office, Lucero will be arraigned later this week and both men’s cases will be presented Friday to a Curry County grand jury.
Wagner, who was arrested on separate charges Tuesday evening, was arraigned on Monday on an open count of murder. He showed no expression as he was wheeled into District Judge Stephen Quinn’s courtroom about 20 minutes late for his arraignment.
He had refused to leave his jail cell Monday morning, or get dressed to go to court, county officials said.
When the judge asked if he had a lawyer, Wagner didn’t answer.
“He just didn’t want to cooperate with jail officials,” Chandler said.
Despite his silence, the proceedings went forward. The court appointed him an attorney and set his bond at $500,000 cash. Furthermore, Quinn ordered Wagner be held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center on an open count of murder.
Officials said Wagner likely killed his mother Tuesday with a metal lamp. Officers dispatched on a welfare check found her dead in a bathtub at her home at 716 W. Grand Ave.
When police arrived for the welfare check they witnessed Wagner telling neighbors that his mother had left for the mall, the court record shows. Wagner then left the area in a hurry and had blood on his body, clothes and shoes, the court record shows.
Upon entering the home, police found evidence someone had attempted to set the residence on fire, the court record shows. The home was in “total disarray” and blood was seen throughout the home, the court record shows.
Wagner swallowed 10 rocks of crack cocaine when confronted by police later in the evening at 309 Thornton St., police said. Because he had swallowed the cocaine, police transported him to Plains Regional Medical Center, the court record shows.
It also shows Wagner was distraught while in the hospital, asking officers to shoot him because he “didn’t deserve to live” — his pleas only subsided after he was sedated by hospital staff.