Man pleads guilty to evidence tampering

A Tucumcari man pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Tenth Judicial District court to charges connected with a July 2011 beating death.


Dennis Joseph Hendren, 36, pleaded guilty to three of six charges filed in connection to the July 9, 2011, homicide of 33-year-old Shirley Pacheco, and was sentenced to nine years — two suspended.

Prior to the plea deal, a jury was brought in with the trial scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon, according to District Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr.

Mitchell said special prosecutor Matt Chandler and Hendron's attorney, Scott Douglas Jones Witt out of Roswell, reached an agreement before the start of the trial. He said Hendron pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.

Hendren was originally charged with three counts of tampering with evidence and three counts of receiving stolen property.

Chandler, the district attorney for the Ninth Judicial District that serves Curry and Roosevelt counties, was appointed by District Attorney Ron Reeves to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

Sworn affidavits filed by New Mexico State Police investigators say Pacheco was found dead at 11:30 p.m. July 9, lying in a pool of blood next to her blood-smeared pickup truck at her home on Arapahoe Street in Tucumcari.

Pacheco is the sister of Jason Pacheco, a 31-year-old Tucumcari man who was shot and killed on Feb. 1, 2007, during a struggle in downtown Tucumcari. A Curry County jury found Socorro resident James Burleson innocent on June 11, 2009, of voluntary manslaughter charges in connection with Jason Pacheco's death.

Randall Jones, 20, of Tucumcari is now awaiting trial in Quay County District Court for charges in connection to Pacheco's death.

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