Suspect in Hittson slaying indicted

By Freedom New Mexico

A 24-year-old Roswell man was indicted Friday for first-degree murder in connection with the beating death of a Tucumcari truck driver.

In addition to pre-meditated murder, Brandon Barela is also charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree armed robbery, two third-degree counts of tampering with evidence and battery, District Attorney Matt Chandler said Friday.

April 2, police found the body of Ronnie Hittson, 51, lying on the shoulder at State Road 523 and Sugarbeet Road after a truck driver reported seeing an unconscious male lying in the ditch.

Police said Hittson had been beaten with a rock and died of severe head trauma.

According to court records, Barela’s coworkers told police they had gone for a drive into the county after leaving a local bar and Barela and Hittson got into an argument.

When Hittson asked to be let out of the vehicle so he could walk, Barela got out after him, then beat him with a rock, the witness said.

Barela is being held without bond at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.