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Senovio Mendoza

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday the New Mexico Supreme Court agreed with the Office of the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division in affirming the first-degree murder and armed robbery convictions of Senovio Mendoza.

In January 2012, Mendoza, after smoking methamphetamine, drove from his home in Carlsbad to Artesia with two other men, Donald Ybarra and Matthew Sloan, to demand money from Timothy Wallace, a known drug dealer who allegedly owed Mendoza money.

Mendoza concocted an armed robbery plan wherein the men bought knit caps from Wal-Mart, then stormed Wallace’s house proclaiming to be agents with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force. Sloan then shot Wallace to death in his home and the trio robbed him.

“Keeping the most dangerous, violent offenders in New Mexico behind bars is our priority, and I’m thankful for the work of our law enforcement partners in Eddy County,” said Balderas.

Mendoza appealed his conviction, claiming the state provided insufficient evidence that he possessed the mens rea required for a felony-murder conviction and challenged the expert status of a bloodstain witness who testified in the case. The Supreme Court rejected both challenges and affirmed the convictions. The convictions were secured by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.