Teens back on track to face adult charges
Last updated 7/8/2022 at 2:30pm
PORTALES – District court judges early this week granted an extension of time for determining whether juvenile murder suspects will be tried as adults.
A new grand jury is scheduled to be convened Friday in Portales to hear evidence against three boys accused of killing James Roper, 37, early last month. A fourth juvenile accused in the case has not been located.
A grand jury had been scheduled July 1, but could not hear the case because 12 grand jurors must be present. District Attorney Brian Stover said only 11 grand jurors were in attendance.
The prosecutor said he had 10 days to show probable cause either by grand jury or preliminary hearing after filing a notice of intent to seek adult charges. That deadline was not met because of the grand-juror shortage, but Stover said Judges Ben Cross and Drew Tatum granted extensions due to the circumstances.
Stover said he will not seek criminal charges against grand jurors who did not appear July 1, but that’s a possibility in the future.
“The court is sending out ‘strong reminders’ to the people who are summoned that it is important for them to come in,” Stover said. “It’s an order of the court, not a suggestion. If you don’t show, you could be held in criminal contempt … six months in jail and a $500 fine.”
Prosecutors contend Roper was beaten and kicked in the head in an alley behind a Portales convenience store on June 5. He died two days later as a result of those injuries.
All four of the teen suspects are charged with second-degree murder.