By: Brittney Cannon
The man who shot and killed Jose Barrera last July pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder, according to a press release from District Attorney Andrea Reeb.
Judge Drew Tatum sentenced Eric Valdez, 40, of Tucumcari, to 15 years in prison, the release states. According to previous reports, Valdez shot Barrera, 33, of Tucumcari, in the back of the head on July 6, 2014, and left him for dead at 413 Sheldon St. in Clovis.
Reeb said that since Valdez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, his other charges were dropped.
According to Reeb, Valdez told detectives in a statement that he was angry with Barrera for allegedly molesting an 8 year-old child.
“When we interviewed (the child), she denied it ever happened,” Reeb said. “That was the basis of his actions.”
According to Reeb, Valdez fought Barerra for control of a gun, managed to get his finger on the trigger and shot Barrera in the head. A property manager for the house on Sheldon Street found Barrera’s body in the bathroom the next day, according to previous reports.
“(Valdez) said he dropped (the gun) and left,” Reeb said. “The gun wasn’t there (when investigators arrived), but he said he left it.”
Because of this, Reeb said investigators are still following up on leads to determine whether or not a third party was involved.
According to previous reports, Valdez was brought in for questioning July 11 of last year, and arrested after confessing to the shooting.
He will be sent to the Department of Corrections in Las Lunas, Reeb said.
Calls placed to Valdez’s attorney, Stephen McIlwain, were not immediately returned.