By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
Attorneys and investigators gathered on Tucumcari’s Main Street about 9 p.m. on Tuesday to revisit the scene where Albert “Jason” Pacheco was shot to death on Feb. 1.
Jim Burleson, 33, a martial arts fight promoter from Socorro, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to Pacheco’s death.
Participating were Burleson’s defense attorney, Lee Deschamps of Socorro, and his law firm’s investigator, Quay County Deputy District Attorney Don Schutte, Kirk Chavez, an attorney with the DA’s office, Deputy Police Chief Ron Haley and other law enforcement officials.
Deschamps said he would not call Tuesday’s exercise a “re-enactment,” but called it a “mock up.”
He said they were trying to determine witnesses’ field of vision.
Burleson has said he took his gun, a .45-caliber handgun, from the console of his Lincoln Navigator and shot Pacheco, 31, according to court and police records.
On Feb. 1, court records showed:
Pacheco and Burleson were on their way to 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.”
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.
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, court records show.
A preliminary hearing for Burleson has been scheduled for September, because one witness, Lena Parker, cannot be in court until that time, Deschamps said.