FARMINGTON — More than two years after Kevin Lossiah was beaten to death, the second suspect in his death will stand trial.
Donovan King, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated burglary and conspiracy. He is accused of breaking into Lossiah's Farmington apartment, 2700 West Apache St., with another man and beating him to death on May 29, 2011. His trial starts Monday and is scheduled to last four days.
King and Justin Mark, 25, allegedly broke into Lossiah's apartment to rob him, according to court documents. The documents state the men were looking for money to find a ride to King's home in Red Valley, Ariz.
The men beat Lossiah with a tree branch and a sock with a rock in it, according to court documents.
The beating exposed Lossiah's skull and brain. Police said there was blood spatter throughout his home when they arrived. He died at San Juan Regional Medical Center that night.
Lossiah was 40 years old.
King and Mark were arrested near the apartment shortly after police responded to the scene. They allegedly had Lossiah's blood on their clothes, and they had his car keys, cell phone and police scanner with them.
Mark was convicted of first-degree murder after a trial in November, and Chief District Judge John Dean sentenced him to life in prison in December.
Mark will be eligible for parole after he serves 30 years for the murder and three years for the armed robbery. He has an appeal pending.
King's case has been delayed while the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled if statements King made to police after his arrest could be used as evidence.
Cosme Ripol, King's attorney, filed a motion to suppress King's statements in October 2011. The document said police misstated laws and manipulated King.
Farmington police Detective Paul Martinez interrogated King after his arrest. According to court documents, Martinez asked King six times to sign a written waiver of his rights, despite King saying that he didn't want to sign it. Martinez didn't answer the questions about what would happen if King didn't sign the waive, annd he told King he had evidence that implicated him but refused to tell him what that evidence was unless he signed the waiver, according to court documents.
"Detective Martinez engaged in mendacity ... when he avoided truthfully answering questions about King's Miranda rights. ... Too frequently, the de facto police motto is 'make an arrest and (four letter word) the rest,'" Ripol wrote in his motion to suppress the statements. "An innocent man was murdered. The constitution of this state and nation must not be 'murdered' along with him."
Dean agreed that the statements were inadmissable at trial, and the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld his ruling in a opinion published in April.
"This is a case in which the interrogator failed to honor a decision by a person in custody to cut off questioning, by both refusing to discontinue the interrogation and by persisting in repeated efforts to wear the suspect down and cause him to change his mind," New Mexico Justice Edward Chavez said in the opinion.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.