Published: 2:45 pm, Wed. Apr. 19th, 2017Updated: 2:42 pm
One of two men charged with open counts of murder in the first-degree in the March beating death of a Roswell resident was denied release on bond Wednesday in Carlsbad Magistrate Court.
Defense attorney Kirk Chavez, counsel for Michael Jimenez, 26, of Artesia, attempted Wednesday to secure his client’s release on the grounds, Chavez said, that new statements made to investigators by the other two suspects – Ryan Morgan, 22, and Shabriel Lopez, 21, both of Artesia – had changed the circumstances of the case.
Chavez claimed to Carlsbad Magistrate Judge D’Ann Read that Morgan, who originally told authorities he was the first to strike 49-year-old Danny Mendes of Roswell in the back of the head with a hammer on the night of March 4 and that Jimenez had continued beating the man from there, has since made statements suggesting he committed the murder alone.
He also claimed Jimenez could not have participated in Mendes’ murder due
to the fact he and Lopez were engaged in intercourse at the time in the back of Mendes’ vehicle, which the four drove to the remote area of Four Dinkus and Haystack roads that night following a night of partying and committing burglaries.
Morgan, who also remains in custody at the Eddy County Detention Center, is currently awaiting mental evaluation.
Ariane Navarrette, representing the State of New Mexico, told the court Morgan had not indicated he acted alone and that recent interviews with Lopez were also inconsistent, meaning an accurate account of the night’s events has still yet to be determined.
Sgt. Eric Threlkeld of the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office also argued against Jimenez’s release, citing his criminal history and the “extreme violent nature” of the crime.
Read agreed with the ECSO and the prosecution and elected not to release Jimenez, who was ultimately given a 30-day extension in which to file his statement to the prosecution and a $75,000 bond, reduced from his original $100,000 bond.
He was scheduled for a 9 a.m. preliminary examination on May 3 in Carlsbad Magistrate Court.
Lopez, who has entered no plea to a charge of felony tampering with evidence, was bound over to Fifth Judicial District Court for trial March 28. A date for that trial has not yet been set.