FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The trial of an Arizona man accused of beating a Farmington man to death, but who later had his drunken confession tossed, began Monday with bloody details of the scene and the body found by police.
The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/1b8ahyN) that both sides gave opening statements Monday in the trial of Donovan King, 24. He is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery and conspiracy.
Prosecutors said the Red Valley, Ariz., man and Justin Mark, 25, broke into 40-year-old Kevin Lossiah’s apartment in 2011 and beat him to death with a stick and a rock wrapped in a sock. “King and (Mark) were armed and they had a plan, and as a result of that plan, Kevin Lossiah was beaten to death,” Assistant District Attorney David Cowen said during opening statements.
But defense attorney Cosme Ripol said the event was a party or fight gone awry, and not a planned killing. He called King a “sloppy drunk” who couldn’t have been in the right condition to commit the heinous crime.
Mark was convicted of first-degree murder in November 2012 and is serving a life sentence.
In April, the state Supreme Court ruled King’s incriminating statement to police couldn’t be used as evidence against him because he had invoked his constitutional right to remain silent while being questioned by authorities. The Supreme Court said King’s Fifth Amendment rights were violated because police continued to interrogate him after he said he didn’t want to answer questions “at the moment” because he was intoxicated.
On Monday, Farmington police Officer Mark Norwood testified that he found Lossiah on the floor. “There was blood spatter all over the room. On the walls, on the ceiling and a large amount on the floor,” Norwood said. “The blood on the floor was more like puddles and pools.”
Ripol asked Norwood about a metal sword that was near Lossiah when Norwood arrived but was moved by paramedics. Ripol suggested the sword’s original spot showed Lossiah may have used it as a weapon.
The jury also was shown pictures of Lossiah’s injures, which included severe head wounds that exposed parts of his skull and brain.