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Dallas Hnulik

The conviction of an Artesia man charged in the 2010 murder of his girlfriend has been upheld by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced this afternoon that the appeals court has confirmed the conviction and sentence of Dallas Hnulik, 30, for the murder of his girlfriend, Brandy Capps. Balderas’ office prioritized the case early in his administration, and Hnulik was convicted of second-degree murder in July 2015.

“My office will continue to work with local law enforcement across New Mexico to attack violent crime and keep the most dangerous criminals behind bars,” said Balderas. “Violence against women and domestic violence will not be tolerated in New Mexico, and I am thankful for the hard work of the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.

“I am also very proud of the Office of the Attorney General prosecutors for securing this conviction and our Criminal Appeals Division for working to have this hard-fought conviction upheld.”

Hnulik, then 23, shot Capps — who was seated in the passenger seat of a vehicle parked at a North 13th Street residence while he sat in the backseat — in the head at close range with a single-action revolver on July 31, 2010.

The defense had attempted to allege the gun discharged accidentally. Firearms experts discounted that claim, and state attorneys also pointed to a history of domestic disputes between the couple.

A Fifth Judicial District Court jury deliberated for just two hours before finding Hnulik guilty in the summer of 2015. He was sentenced by Judge Lisa B. Riley to 12 years in prison.