The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Trial date, venue set for library shooting case


February 13, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Defense attorney Stephen Taylor, left, and 5th Judicial District Judge James Hudson appeared via video at a status conference Monday in Curry County, in which they discussed with District Attorney Andrea Reeb pending matters on the case of accused teenage shooter Nathaniel Jouett.

CLOVIS — Almost six months after the library shooting, trial dates and venue for the teenage suspect were set in a Curry County Court hearing Monday afternoon.

Nathaniel Jouett was 16 when authorities say he killed two and injured four at the Clovis-Carver Public Library on Aug. 28. He is now scheduled to be tried as an adult on charges including first-degree murder in a month-long trial set to begin March 18, 2019, in the Chaves County Courthouse in Roswell.

Officials also discussed defense attorney Stephen Taylor's pending motion to transfer Jouett, now 17, from the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center to an adolescent treatment facility in Albuquerque while he awaits trial.

Taylor said Jouett was accepted for in-patient treatment at the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center and that he hoped to file a motion on that transfer in the next couple of weeks.

District Attorney Andrea Reeb said she intended to oppose that with a pre-trial detention motion within five days of Taylor's filing on the matter.

Reeb said she was concerned the treatment center might not be able to guarantee Jouett's detention, but recognized the need for the accused teen shooter to stay ready for trial.

"I want (Jouett) to get any mental health treatment he needs to keep us in line for trial. ... Both (Taylor) and I are in agreement that we do want to keep him from deteriorating while locked up in a facility," Reeb said after the hearing. "But the number one priority for me and this community and the victims is that he is in a secure facility where he cannot leave that facility, and I did not get the impression the (adolescent treatment center) is that way."

Reeb said she had "been informed that they're having a difficult time dealing with (Jouett) through the detention center," but noted alternate treatment options could be explored, to include lock-down detention facilities other than Clovis'.

The decision will come down to the discretion of 5th Judicial District Judge James Hudson, who was stipulated last year to preside over the case. Hudson and Taylor appeared at Monday's hearing through video conference from Roswell and Albuquerque, respectively. Jouett's appearance at the hearing was waived and he didn't participate.

Also discussed at Monday's status conference was another pending motion from Taylor regarding Jouett's eligibility for a post-trial amenability hearing. Taylor explained previously that if Jouett were convicted of first-degree murder he would automatically be sentenced as an adult, rather than being subject to an amenability hearing to determine if he would instead benefit from treatment in the state's Children, Youth and Families Department.

Taylor said Monday in court that the hearing on that motion, which he hopes to file next month, would be "not necessarily specific to (Jouett)" but "will be more in line with what we know about adolescent development."

Hudson also asked for progress updates on discovery and other pre-trial matters; Taylor said "things seem to be moving pretty smoothly" and Reeb agreed.

"I think we're progressing well," she said, noting a round of interviews took place in January and another dozen or so are scheduled for next month.

Hudson initially recommended a 28-day trial period from Jan. 15 to Feb. 22 next year but proposed the later period after both attorneys agreed more time would be useful.

"I'm happy we at least have some dates we can aim toward now," Reeb said.


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