By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The question jurors must decide upon in the murder case against Randall Jones is whether Jones’ slaying of Shirley Pacheco in July 2011 was premeditated, according to opening arguments presented Tuesday in Jones’ murder trial.
Jones’ trial began Monday in Tenth Judicial District Court with Ninth Judicial District Judge Stephen Quinn presiding. Jury selection consumed the day.
Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose presented the state’s opening statement Tuesday, asserting that Jones went to Pacheco’s home on July 9, 2011 with intent to injure or kill her. Rose said witnesses will testify that Jones was talking about robbing and injuring Pacheco for “snitching,” providing information to law enforcement, for several days before the slaying.
He said Jones’ associates are people who “live by their own rules.” One of those rules is that one does not “rat out” or “snitch” on each other.Further, Rose said, Jones intended to commit robbery against Pacheco, which would mean he would be guilty of “felony murder,” or a murder that occurs during the commission of another felony. Felony murder is first-degree murder, as serious as premeditated murder, Rose said.
Evidence will show that Jones went to Pacheco’s home on the pretext of selling her some stereo speakers for her truck, Rose said. While Pacheco was installing the speakers to test them, Rose said, Jones struck her with a claw hammer on the top of the head and in the back of the head. There was a pause, he said, then Jones delivered more blows, moved Jones’ body next to his own truck that was sitting next to Pacheco’s, then dealt more blows.
Rose said in all, Jones dealt 11 blows to Pacheco’s head.
What happened after the slaying, Rose said, is evidence the crime was premeditated. Jones entered Pacheco’s home and took cash and two firearms, he said.
Rose said Jones drove to a friend’s home, parking two blocks away. He and his friends then cleaned blood from the truck, gave Jones a change of clothes and dumped Jones’ clothes and shoes somewhere along the Tucumcari Airport Road, according to Rose.
He said Jones’ shoes were wrapped in duct tape, which, he said, indicates that he was attempting to conceal identifiable sole prints, which would indicate premeditation.
The clothes, which were recovered, Rose said, contain Jones’ DNA inside and Pacheco’s blood on the outside.
Whether the jury finds premeditation or murder committed during a felony, Rose concluded, the prosecution hopes to make a case for first-degree murder.
Defense attorney Michael Rosenfield, of the state’s Public Defender’s office, said there is no question whether Jones committed the slaying. The real question, he said, is Jones’ condition at the time of the slaying, and whether Jones intended to kill Pacheco before he visited her home to sell her the truck speakers.
Evidence will show, he said, that before Jones and Pacheco went to Pacheco’s home, they dropped off two girls who were friends of Pacheco at another house. Rosenfield said that if the crime were premeditated, Jones would not have allowed these two witnesses to see Pacheco just before her intended slaying.
Rosenfield said Jones had been smoking methamphetamine for nearly a week before the slaying and had consumed some of the drug earlier on the day of the murder. Further, he said, evidence would show that Jones smoked more meth with Pacheco inside her home before both went out to install the speakers.
Rosenfield said that evidence will show that while Pacheco was installing the speakers, she suddenly turned on Jones, and took an aggressive stance toward him.
“Then,” Rosenfield said, “the meth kicked in.”
Jones then attacked Jones with the hammer, killing her with as many as 11 blows, Rosenfield said.
Further, Rosenfield said, testimony will show that when police investigated Pacheco’s truck, they found the hammer in its bed. Rosenfield said that act of apparent carelessness demonstrates that Jones was not capable of premeditation.
Rosenfield said that state law requires that if a defendant is very intoxicated at the time of a slaying , the murder may not be considered premeditated.