Jury returns partial verdict in NM doctor slaying

November 22, 2013 • State News

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The 20-year-old son of Farmington’s city manager was convicted Friday of aggravated burglary and evidence tampering in the bludgeoning death of a Farmington doctor, but jurors told a judge they did not reach a verdict on a murder charge after nearly eight hours of deliberations.

John [auth] Mayes is on trial for the June 9, 2011, killing of Dr. James Nordstrom. A judge ordered jurors to return Monday to continue deliberations over the murder count.

Jurors also convicted Mayes of unlawful taking of vehicle, credit card fraud and attempted residential burglary.

Prosecutors contend the crime was a burglary that turned into a cold-blooded killing by Mayes, who then took Nordstrom’s truck and went to Burger King and then went shopping with Nordstrom’s credit card.

Mayes’ defense contends that Nordstrom invited Mayes into his home and Mayes was defending himself from an unwanted sexual advance made during a game of pool.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said the self-defense story was just an attempt to manipulate jurors at the expense of the victim’s reputation.

“How did Nordstrom get indicted? Why is he on trial? He’s just a victim, and now he’s being victimized again by this manipulator right here,” Capshaw said, pointing at Mayes.

Jeffrey Buckels, one of Mayes’ attorneys, said police botched aspects of the investigation and the results of Mayes’ defense-arranged polygraph test created reasonable doubt.

“If you heard something in here that makes you stop for a minute and think about it, you just found (Mayes) not guilty,” he said. “Mayes doesn’t have to prove a thing.”

Mayes had told police after the killing that he’d run away from home, entered Nordstrom’s house through a bedroom window and attacked Nordstrom by surprise when the doctor finished watching television.

At his preliminary hearing two months later, Mayes said Nordstrom invited him into his house and they shot pool before Nordstrom came onto him.

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