Charge filed in fatal fight

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By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer A Portales man is charged with aggravated battery in a fight that led to the stabbing death of 25-year-old Marco Bonilla of Portales. But police said Thursday no one has been charged with killing Marco Bonilla. Investigators are still sorting through evidence. Portales Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry said […]

Woman, infant die of swine flu

PNT staff report A 54-year-old Curry County woman and a Quay County infant are among four New Mexicans who died from the H1N1 flu virus this week, according to the state Department of Health. The Quay County infant had no other health conditions, but the Curry County woman suffered chronic health conditions, according to a […]

Wednesday morning briefing: From hunting to the death penalty

Good morning. Welcome to Freedom New Mexico’s Wednesday morning briefing.

Police investigating pedestrian’s death

Freedom New Mexico Portales police released new details Monday about the death of 71-year-old Gloria Ann Inge, killed after being struck by a pickup truck while crossing a city street. Inge was hit Friday by a 16-year-old driver at Second and Abilene streets. Inge was taken to Roosevelt General Hospital and later airlifted to a […]

Officials investigating ‘suspicious death’

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By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico Clovis police found a man dead Tuesday morning after responding to a report of a stabbing in a 14th Street home, records show. Officials had not identified the victim early Tuesday night nor determined the cause of his death. They termed the death “suspicious” but would not say if […]

Convicted killer shares deep remorse over death

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico “That day was just crazy.” And it is one that Tommy Willis replays in his head over and over again. He was at Elizabeth Kelton’s house and they were arguing over money from a drug transaction the day before. He remembers her throwing a beer bottle at him, and […]

Family opted not to seek death penalty for daughter’s sake

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico “She usually found what she thought to be the underdog of things… I’m sure she would have defended the guy and his actions.” And that was Elizabeth in a nutshell. Her dark hair, big brown eyes and huge smile were those of a tough advocate who would jump to […]

Death penalty allowed in Roosevelt murder case

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By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer A District Court ruling has allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty in the case of a Roosevelt County man accused of contracting the 2005 shooting death of a county rancher. Tuesday in District Court, Judge Drew Tatum ruled there is probable cause to believe an aggravating circumstance, namely […]

Death penalty case decision expected today

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By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer A district court judge plans to review more evidence and listen to closing arguments before making a decision on whether there is sufficient evidence for prosecutors to seek the death penalty against a Roosevelt County farmer. In a district court hearing Monday, Judge Drew Tatum listened to arguments from […]

Police: Hittson beaten to death with rock

A witness described seeing his coworker beat a 51-year-old Tucumcari truck driver to death with a rock after the two had an argument in the early morning hours Thursday. The witness, an employee of a Roswell milk testing company, said he, Brandon Barela and Ronnie Hittson had left a Clovis bar together and, “went to […]

Roosevelt farmer still faces death penalty

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico Even though the death penalty was repealed in New Mexico, a Roosevelt County farmer accused of arranging a murder-for-hire still faces possible execution. Prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against William “Billy Joe” Watson last August. Watson is accused of conspiring with the Aryan […]

State legislature adjourns

What passed (Bills already signed by Gov. Bill Richardson have been noted.): * Death penalty: HB285 repeals the death penalty and establishes life in prison without parole as the state’s maximum sentence. It was signed into law by the governor. * Open conference committees: HB393 opens to the public conference committees — meetings in which […]

Life-in-prison sentence OK legislation

By Karl Terry: PNT columnist The question of the death penalty has divided our nation for a long time. It’s not likely that Gov. Bill Richardson’s signature on legislation banning the death penalty will end the struggle. New Mexico will become the second state to ban the death penalty since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted […]

Death penalty repeal has favorable callers

By Steve Terrell: The Santa Fe New Mexican People who have contacted the New Mexico Governor’s Office about the death penalty since Friday have supported repealing capital punishment by better than a 3-to-1 margin, according to a statement from the governor’s office on Tuesday. Gov. Bill Richardson has until midnight today to act on a […]

Death penalty nears end

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican The bill that would abolish the death penalty moved closer to becoming law Monday when the Senate Judiciary voted 6-5 to pass the bill to the Senate floor. Supporters of House Bill 285, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, considered the committee vote an important victory because in recent […]

Portales woman sentenced for son’s death

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer A Portales woman who said God told her to flush the devil from her 6-year-old son was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty in the boy’s death, according to the district attorney’s office. Teresa Gilman, 26, was arrested in January 2007 after an ambulance was […]

Local Bataan death march survivor dies

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico Physically, John L. Johnson changed during World War II. He was 119 pounds lighter than his normal 215 pounds and three years older when he returned from his ordeal as a prisoner of war in the Philippines during World War II. But his personality defied the starvation, disease and […]

Senators hear from former death-row inmate

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican About six weeks before he was to be executed by the state of Illinois, Randy Steidl’s mother went to a cemetery and purchased a burial plot for him. “That’s something a mother should never have to do,” Steidl told a reporter Friday. Steidl came to Santa Fe to try […]

Death penalty repeal heads to Judiciary panel

By Steve Terrell: The New Mexican The bill that would abolish capital punishment in New Mexico cleared another hurdle Tuesday when it got a do-pass recommendation on a 5-2 party-line vote in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albquerque, now goes to Senate Judiciary, which is considered the […]

Buddy, we hardly knew you

By David Stevens: FNM Editor Clovis never knew Buddy Holly. Fifty years after his death, Holly’s fame is a foundation for the annual Clovis Music Festival, which attracts Holly fans from around the world. The recording studio where he worked on west Seventh Street is the closest thing the city has to a tourist attraction. […]