Officials plan to extradite suspect in 1999 homicide

By Thomas Garcia Quay County Sun

Tucumcari law officers are seeking extradition of a murder suspect from Washington state who may have fled the scene of a homicide eight years ago, Quay County prosecutor Kirk Chavez said.
Prosecutors have requested a governor’s warrant requesting the suspect’s return to Tucumcari to stand trial, Chavez said.
First, law enforcement officials in a district court hearing in Washington have to prove to a judge that the suspect is Teodoro Barraza, 43, who is wanted in connection with the 1999 slaying of Berundes Gregorio.
The man will appear at an identity hearing on Friday at the Grays Harbor District Court.
The hearing is to ensure the subject is the same as the suspect being sought by Tucumcari police, a Grays Harbor court official said. The court will examine fingerprints and booking photos from the Grays Harbors Sheriff’s Office and compare them to Tucumcari police records, the court official said.
Gregorio was found stabbed to death on April 4, 1999, at 609 E. Laughlin St. in Tucumcari, according to Quay County Magistrate Court documents.
The man Tucumcari police believe is Barraza was stopped by Grays County deputies on Oct. 3 outside of Porter, Wash., for a possible DUI, according to a news report in The Daily World of Aberdeen Wash. The suspect gave the deputies a different name and date of birth than the murder suspect, but his fingerprints produced a “hit” for a fugitive being sought by the FBI, the news report said.
Court records show Virginia Griego, owner of the residence where Gregorio died, called 911 at 3:24 a.m. on April 4, 1999, to report the slaying.
“The suspect and victim had been staying at the residence living in the same room,” said Tucumcari Police Det. Jack Hendrickson, who has been investigating the homicide since it happened. “Both of the men worked at the 66 Packing Company.”
On the night of April 3, 1999, the suspect and victim were drinking beer and watching a soccer game on TV, according to witness Raymundo Barraza, a first cousin of the suspect, Hendrickson said.
The suspect and victim left the house together and were going to a bar, according to Raymundo Barraza.

Gregorio returned to the house before the suspect with a six-pack of beer alone, Raymundo Barraza said in the report. The suspect returned to the residence after 2 a.m.
Griego told police she later found Teodoro Barraza cooking in the kitchen and that he tried to prevent her from looking in the room where Gregorio was sleeping. She then found Gregorio’s body and asked Raymundo Barraza to call police.
Teodoro Barraza then left out the back door, carrying a small bag with a change of clothes, court documents said.
The victim had multiple stab wounds to the left chest, upper left side and cuts on the left arm that were identified as defensive wounds, according to Hendrickson’s arrest affidavit.