The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office arrested Clairice Johnson, 31, on charges of attempted second-degree murder after a shooting in Dexter, Monday morning. The shooting followed a family dispute in the Lopez-Morley Road residence.
The Criminal Complaint states that the Roswell Police Department was called in to the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, after the victim came in with a bullet hole in the right side of the chest. According to the clinicians the bullet had traveled through the man’s body. The injuries were severe enough that the victim had to be air lifted to Lubbock for treatment.
The Sheriff’s Office responded when it was learned that the incident took place in the county. Johnson was taken to RPD to make a statement to SO’s Detective Jason Tutor.
According to the initial interview reported in court documents, Johnson said she was arguing with her spouse. He then retired to the bedroom.
She went into the bedroom to clean, “wiping ashes from the cabinet” and picked up the gun in her right hand, as she did so she dislodged a magazine. When she went to pick it up, the firearm discharged accidentally. The first bullet struck the floor. Johnson also reported that she was so startled by the shot, she jumped causing the gun to fire a second time. The second bullet hit the victim.
Reportedly, detectives Tutor and Perham later executed a search warrant and spoke with witnesses present at the time of the incident. They stated they heard only one shot, not two. Further investigation at the scene revealed no bullet embedded in the floor. However, studies of the trajectory of the bullet holes found in the walls of the residence indicated that bullets had been shot from a position above waist level, straight-on.
On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office sent investigators to talk to the victim, who has now regained consciousness and is able to discuss the shooting with the police.
Second-degree murder lacks premeditation required for charges of first-degree murder. The former carries a sentence of 20 years to life, while first-degree murder is a capital offense. The fact that this has been filed as an attempted homicide makes it a third-degree felony carrying a sentence of three years.