NM jury convicts man of first-degree murder

May 10, 2013 • State News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Dona Ana County prosecutors say a man facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with a 2011 shooting has been found guilty.

Eric Marquez was accused of shooting Julian “J.T.” [auth] Melendres with a 12-gauge shotgun outside a convenience store along U.S. 70. Melendres died at the scene.

Police say Marquez believed Melendres, a self-proclaimed gang member, had previously shot at his home and confronted him after he was seen driving by his house in a suspicious way.

District Attorney Mark D’Antonio says Melendres’ family can have some closure with Friday’s verdict.

Marquez’s attorney had argued that the shooting was an act of self-defense.

Sentencing for Marquez has yet to be scheduled. He faces life in prison, which in New Mexico means 30 years before being eligible for parole.

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