Accused shooter enters plea before Monday trial

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

A man accused of shooting a Clovis teen during a dispute pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter and will serve more than eight years in prison, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.

John Cameron, 26, was scheduled to go to trial Monday for second-degree murder in connection with the October 2006 shooting death of Amos Soliz.

A sentencing hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Chandler said.

Chandler said the plea was an appropriate resolution in the case because evidence showed Cameron was provoked prior to the shooting, one of the criteria for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter.

Soliz, 19, lived next door to Cameron’s mother and stepfather, who told investigators they had an ongoing dispute with Soliz’ roommate, records show.

Cameron went unarmed to Soliz’ house with the intention of confronting Soliz and his roommate, Arthur Gutierrez, Chandler said.

Gutierrez, 28, and Soliz were armed with handguns, Chandler said.

While Cameron was arguing with Soliz, Gutierrez hit Cameron in the face with a gun, which fell to the ground, Chandler said. Cameron gained control of the gun and fired three shots toward Soliz, hitting him twice.

Chandler said the plea agreement was discussed with the victim’s family and law enforcement involved in the case.

“They all felt that (because of ) the way the fight unfolded, this prevented the victim’s family from having to sit through the trial or worry about any possible appeals or even a self-defense case,” he said.

“We just feel like it’s an amicable resolution for both parties. Mr. Cameron has no prior criminal history, but he will be sentenced to the maximum under the law.”

Cameron will be required to serve a minimum of 85 percent of his sentence, Chandler said.

Two days before the shooting, police records indicate Gutierrez had a physical altercation with Cameron’s stepfather, who told police he and his wife had been having problems with Gutierrez since they moved into the duplex.

Cameron’s mother and stepfather, Ronnie and Joan Vann, were arrested for tampering with evidence. Police said they ran from the scene and hid a gun that fell out of Soliz’ pocket as witnesses were attempting to render aid.

Others in case
Arthur Gutierrez, Soliz’ 28-year-old roommate, pleaded guilty in January to extortion related to an altercation with Cameron’s mother and stepfather two days before the shooting. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Cameron’s mother, Joan Vann, 48, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in July and was sentenced to six months imprisonment followed by one year supervised probation. Police said she grabbed a gun belonging to the victim from the yard after the shooting and she and her husband fled the scene, hiding the gun.

Cameron’s stepfather, Ronnie Vann Sr., 55, pleaded guilty earlier this month to being an accessory to tampering with evidence for fleeing the scene with his wife. He was placed on two years supervised probation.