by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
A martial arts fight promoter was arraigned Thursday in Quay County Magistrate Court on charges alleging he killed Albert “Jason” Pacheco, 31, of Tucumcari, on Feb. 1.
James Burleson, 33, of Socorro pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was released after posting a $100,000 bond.
Burleson, accompanied by his attorneys, turned himself over to authorities on Thursday following the issuance of a warrant for his arrest on Friday, police officials said.
The Quay County District Attorney’s office has advanced two theories regarding Burleson’s involvement in the death of Pacheco, according to the court documents. Evidence and court proceedings will determine which theory –~if applicable –~might lead to a conviction, records show.
The first is that the death of Pacheco was murder in the second degree and that Burleson did unlawfully kill Pacheco without justification or excuse. If convicted of this charge, Burleson could face 19 years in jail.
The second is that Burleson unlawfully killed Pacheco without malice “which was committed upon a sudden quarrel.” If convicted of this charge, Burleson’s maximum sentence could be 15 years.
Burleson and Pacheco met on the night of Feb. 1, and there was a confrontation between the two men, according to the affidavit for arrest.
Burleson, who was armed with a .45-caliber handgun, “did fire the weapon at Jason Pacheco, striking him in the chest,” the affidavit states.
The men knew each other from participation in cage fighting, also known as martial arts fighting, and were to have fought in an event in Tucumcari on Oct. 7, 2006, the affidavit states.
At that time, Burleson taunted Pacheco with epithets, the document states.
“This fight did not occur but the defendant continued to taunt the decedent in his postings on myspace.com …. and stated in his posting … ‘I’ll just hit you in the parking lot,’ according to the documents.
On Feb. 1, court records show: Pacheco and Burleson were on their way to a “weigh-in” at the Apollo Gym in Tucumcari when they met on the sidewalk by the gym. A fight started and Burleson “was able to get to the center of his console of his vehicle and retrieve his pistol. The defendant then left his vehicle with the pistol. The pistol was either knocked from his hand or dropped when he exited his vehicle. The altercation between defendant and decedent continued until the defendant was able to retrieve his pistol whereupon he fired point blank into decedent’s chest resulting in the death of Jason Pacheco.”
Burleson’s bond was originally set at $250,000. His attorney, Lee Deschamps of Socorro, asked that his bond be reduced to $100,000.