Jury selection in Portales homicide trial begins

Staff and Wire Reports

ALBUQUERQUE — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a man accused in the killing of an elderly Portales couple whose bodies were found stuffed in the trunk of a burned car.

Stanley Bedford, 43, of Portales is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and evidence tampering and one count of possession of stolen property.

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler of Clovis has said he would seek the death penalty in the case.

Bedford’s state district court trial was moved to Albuquerque after attorneys on both sides agreed it would have been impossible to pick an impartial jury in Roosevelt County.

Judge Stephen Quinn of the 9th Judicial district is presiding over the trial.

The bodies of Odis Newman, 70, and his wife, Doris Newman, 69, were found March 3, 2005. According to court documents, the Newmans were alive when they were put into the trunk before the car was set on fire.

Jerry Fuller of Portales, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced Jan. 17 to 127 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping and charges of tampering with evidence, assault on a police officer and aggravated burglary.

Both attorneys have said they expect jury selection to last all week, with testimony probably beginning next Tuesday.