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

Accused shooter says he acted in self-defense

 

Flores Espana

CLOVIS — A man charged with killing a co-worker at a Curry County dairy on Thursday told police he acted in self-defense.

But Jose Flores Espana’s statement was “inconsistent with the other witnesses,” court records show, and Flores Espana was charged with murder in the death of Mairon Franco Rodriguez, 23, of Texico.

Flores Espana, 32, appeared Friday afternoon in Curry County Magistrate Court on the open count of murder and received conditional appointment of a public defender. He appeared via video and spoke through the court’s Spanish translator.

The incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Route 77 Dairy located at 197 State Road 77, north of Texico.

Curry County sheriff deputies responded to a report of shots fired and found Rodriguez dead in a milking barn.

Juan Marquez, a dairy worker, told investigators he heard two gun shots and saw people running out of the barn where Rodriguez was killed.

Marquez said he saw Flores Espana leaving the barn “and convinced him to stay,” records show.

Marquez asked Flores Espana about the gun and that Flores Espana “showed him in his boot.”

Marquez took the gun, which was wrapped in a black T-shirt, and gave it to dairy owner Joel Van Dam, records show.

Flores Espana told investigators that he carried a gun on a daily basis for protection. He said Rodriguez “came at him and that it was self defense, but would not admit to the shooting.”

One witness told authorities he saw Flores Espana shoot Rodriguez.

Teodoso Franco Calderon, the victim’s brother, said he heard a shot, looked up, and saw Rodriguez running toward him when Flores Espana shot him.

Another witness said he was working with the men when he heard Rodriguez tell Flores Espana to “keep working,” records show. That witness reported hearing two shots before running from the barn. That witness also said the victim and suspect, both from Texico, were friends.

One dairy worker who did not see the shooting told officials that Rodriguez and Flores Espana “had an argument in May.”

Victor Calderon told investigators he heard “two bangs,” and went to the barn where he saw people running. Calderon said Flores Espana told him, “Why should I run?” records show.

Flores Espana was booked into the Curry County jail without bond late Thursday on charges of murder and three counts of sexual contact of a minor. He is next scheduled for a preliminary examination June 28.

The sex charges were from an outstanding warrant in California.

Rodriguez “deserves to be remembered as the great guy that he was,” said Jennifer Enriquez, whose husband worked with Rodriguez at the dairy.

“He was always very respectful, very genuine, super kind, super grateful,” she said. “I know he was very family oriented. He would send most of his paycheck to (family) in Honduras.”

 

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