Trials set for two men accused in Portales killings

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

Trials for two Portales men accused of killing an elderly Portales couple have been tentatively set to take place during June and July.

Jerry Fuller, 33, faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of tampering with evidence, three counts of assault upon a peace officer and one count of aggravated burglary. Fuller appeared in court Friday for his pre-trial hearing.

Fuller is one of the two men accused of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the deaths of Odis and Doris Newman, which took place in early March.

Stanley Bedford, 42, is scheduled to have his pre-trial at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. Bedford faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of receiving stolen property.

Prosecutors entered an intent to seek the death penalty for both men on June 3.

Attorneys Jeff Jones and Stephen Aarons of Santa Fe will be defending Fuller in the case. Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler and Director of Special Prosecutions Michael Cox of the Attorney General’s office spoke on behalf of the state of New Mexico. Jones, Aarons, Chandler and Cox all spoke via tele-conference during Friday’s pre-trial hearing while Fuller and Newman family members were present in the courthouse.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Stephen Quinn set the date for the Fuller trial to begin on June 19. Chandler said the trial will take three to four weeks. The Bedford trial is scheduled to take place after the Fuller trial in mid-July and will also be for one month.

“I know the victims in this case are anxious to get this case moving forward,” Chandler said via speakerphone. “We would encourage the court to be on track for a May trial.”

However, the defense said preparation for the trial would require the trial be pushed back to mid-June.

Defense attorneys also announced their intent to enter a motion seeking a change of venue.

“I want a change of venue to be heard as soon as possible,” Quinn said.

Quinn requested the hearing for the motion seeking a change of venue take place by the end of the year. Quinn said the sooner the hearing takes place, the sooner court schedules in Tucumcari and Clovis can be researched if the change of venue is granted for trial dates.

Defense attorneys said a survey of Portales residents will be conducted to gather information on the reaction from residents to the incident.

Donna Mowrer, senior prosecutor for the district attorney’s office, said the office has autopsy reports from the medical investigator. The reports will be provided to the defense, but Chandler said complete lab results will not be able to be provided until January at the latest.