By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico
Vassie Salisbury said she had given up hope anybody would be arrested in her son’s homicide after 13 months.
However, Clovis police hadn’t given up, and on Wednesday charged three city men with murder in her son’s shooting death.
“I feel a lot happier, the 76-year-old Sailsbury said Wednesday afternoon, her voice light and cheerful.
The arrests in the Jan. 7, 2007, shooting death of Emmett Salisbury, a 36-year-old Clovis second-hand store owner, came after police learned new information in the case, Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said.
Larry McClendon, 20, Anthony Wallace, 19, and Joshua Martinez, 30, are each charged with an open count of murder in addition to other charges related to the homicide, Whitney said.
Salisbury’s body was discovered the day after the shooting by his partner in the store he operated on Grand Avenue, police have said. He died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
“I had decided that (police) weren’t doing anything (but) just sitting on it but evidently they were working on it,” Vassie Salisbury said. “It helps. I had given up hope that they’d ever pick them up.”
Wallace and McClendon are already incarcerated in connection with the robberies of four people who visited Emmett Salisbury’s store the night of the homicide. According to court records, the two approached the individuals outside Salisbury’s store at gunpoint, demanding money.
Martinez is being held on $100,000 cash only bond and McClendon a $500,000 cash only bond, jail officials said.
In December, Wallace was convicted of charges in the robberies and faces up to 35 years imprisonment, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.
McClendon is still awaiting trial in connection with the robberies, records show.
Chandler intends to pursue first-degree murder charges against all three.
Law enforcement continued to pursue the case throughout the past year, Chandler said.
“The credit for the arrest goes to the hard work and diligent efforts of the Major Crimes Unit,” he said.
“They never let this case go cold and continued to work it with the goal to make arrests of all those individuals in the murder of Mr. Salisbury.”
Chandler said arrest affidavits filed in Curry County Magistrate Court were sealed at his request out of concern for witness safety. The seal on the records will be lifted after the defendants are arraigned, which should take place in the next 10 days, he said.
Chandler declined to identify who among the three has been identified as the shooter and said he could not comment on a motive behind the shooting.
He also declined to say if any of the defendants were cooperating with law enforcement.
Recent witness statements led police to Martinez, who was arrested without incident by the Major Crimes Unit around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning at an apartment in the 700 block of Sheridan Street, according to Whitney.
“The detectives have been working it. They were waiting on forensic (results) and they knew they were going to have to wait until somebody rolled over on these people,” he said.