Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By QCS Staff 

Tucumcari man accused of first-degree murder


April 6, 2017

Courtesy Photo

John T. Coston (above) was arraigned Thursday in Quay County Magistrate Court for the first-degree murder of Joseph T. Burgess.

A Tucumcari man was arraigned Thursday in Quay County Magistrate court for the charges of murder and tampering with evidence a day after New Mexico State Police investigated a shooting at a residence north of Tucumcari.

John T. Coston, 25, appeared before Magistrate Judge TJ O’Quinn represented by his attorney Michael Garrett of Clovis. He is charged with the first-degree murder of Joseph T. Burgess, 25, of Tucumcari.

According to a New Mexico State Police press release, officers responded to a report of a possible homicide Wednesday at a residence on the 4200 block of Quay Road 65. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Burgess dead with a gunshot wound.

Staff Photo: Thomas Garcia

A New Mexico Department of Public Safety Patrol blocked the road leading to a residence on Quay Road 65 for seven hours Wednesday after a reported shooting.

According to the arrest affidavit, Coston was sitting on the porch of the residence when Quay County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Gates arrived on the scene. Gates approached Coston and asked him what had happened. Coston stated he had shot his cousin (Burgess).

During an interview with police, Coston told investigators he was having an argument with Burgess because he (Burgess) was not supposed to be at the residence, the affidavit said.

Coston said he told Burgess to leave, went into his bedroom and closed the door. He said he called the owner of the residence to tell them Burgess was there and then apparently blacked out.

Coston said the next thing he remembered was standing in the hallway with a shotgun laying on the floor next to him, Burgess was lying on the floor and was bleeding. Coston told officers "he must of shot Burgess because there was no one else inside the residence," the affidavit said.

Coston was booked into the Quay County Detention Center where he remains in custody. Bond information was not available.


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