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State v. Ochoa

Supreme Court of New Mexico
72 P.2d 609 (N.M. 1937)


Facts

Sheriff M.R. Carmichael was killed while walking a prisoner, Esiquel Navarro, from the courthouse to the jail. When Carmichael exited the courthouse, there was an angry crowd of people waiting outside, who all felt that Navarro should be released. Leandro Velarde, Manuel Avitia, and Juan Ochoa (defendants) were in the crowd. As Carmichael pushed through the crowd while pulling along Navarro with the help of his deputy sheriff, Hoy Boggess, a melee ensued. Members of the crowd reached for Navarro to free him, Avitia pulled out a gun from his pocket, and Boggess threw a tear gas bomb into the crowd and was immediately struck over the head and knocked unconscious. Avitia and Ochoa were near Boggess when he was hit but it was never determined who initially struck him. The blow also knocked Boggess’s gun to the ground, and two in the crowd ran toward it to grab it, although it is not clear which two. Additionally, after Boggess went down, Avitia and Ochoa continued to beat and kick him. Right after the tear gas went off, a shot was fired and this prompted more shots being fired, approximately 12 to 15 in all. When the shooting stopped, Avitia was seen running away with a gun in his hand. In the end, the shooting had killed Carmichael and when the bullets were extracted from his body it was found that they were shot from Boggess’s gun, which Boggess had never fired. The gun was never recovered and it was never determined who fired the shots that killed Carmichael. The defendants were charged and convicted of second degree murder. They appealed.

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