Two arrested on murder charges in Fort Sumner


Last updated 2/20/2021 at 3:26pm


FORT SUMNER - A pair of Fort Sumner men were arrested Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder in connection with the death of a man Feb. 8 at Plains Regional Medical Center.

Casey Cortese, 31, and Arron Harden, 38, are being held at the De Baca County Detention Center in connection with the death of Michael Gutierrez, 26, of Fort Sumner. They also face charges of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and assault with intent to commit a violent felony.


Both are due in front of District Judge Albert Mitchell for a pretrial detention hearing Thursday afternoon.

According to a news release from the New Mexico State Police:

• Police learned that on the morning of Feb. 5, Cortese and Harden went to Gutierrez' residence to confront him about an allegation he stole methamphetamine from a friend. A fight ensued, with Cortese hitting Gutierrez with a handgun and Harden using a hammer.

• Gutierrez checked himself into a Santa Rosa hospital on Feb. 7, and was released after treatment.

• On Feb. 8, Gutierrez' mother noticed slurred speech and a pale skin color on her son, and contacted first responders. Gutierrez was taken to Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, where he succumbed to his injuries.

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