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

Former Portales man acquitted on child molestation charges


March 1, 2018

PORTALES — A former Portales man arrested two years ago was acquitted Wednesday on six felony counts of child molestation, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover.

Rocky Banda, 37, of Amarillo, represented himself in a jury trial that started Monday morning and concluded Wednesday afternoon following about four hours of deliberations.

He was charged in February 2016 with 24 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child pertaining to a four-year period, but went to trial this week on six of those charges — three of them first-degree felonies, two second-degree felonies and one third-degree felony.

“I am exceptionally disappointed,” Stover said. “Talking to the jury, it’s clear that I didn’t do as good a job as I needed to do. The jury indicated that they absolutely believe the victim, but they were disappointed that the state did not have a second DNA test performed, and they also questioned the way the (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) exam was done.”

Judge Donna Mowrer presided over the trial this week in Roosevelt County. Banda had defense attorney Benjamin Herrmann as standby counsel, and efforts to reach both Wednesday evening were unsuccessful.

Banda chose to represent himself after a brief time with representation from two different public defenders last year, records show.

Stover said he was surprised by the outcome and will try to bring a stronger case in the future.

“My heart goes out to the victim because this is clearly a case where I didn’t do a good enough job for her, and the jury was telling me I didn’t do a good enough job,” he said. “We will certainly double our efforts (on similar cases) and try to do a better job on cases in the future.”

Banda faced a maximum sentence of more than 80 years if convicted on all counts.


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