AZTEC — A judge on Thursday canceled a hearing for a motion that would have forced a Farmington police officer to testify on behalf of a homicide suspect.
David Markham's murder trial will likely be postponed to give the defense time to find another witness, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said. The trial was scheduled to start Tuesday.
Markham, 59, is charged with an open count of murder, child abuse, aggravated assault and battery in connection to the shooting death of Christopher Lucero on Dec. 12, 2011.
Cosme Ripol, Markham's attorney, filed a motion Oct. 18 to compel Nick Bloomfield, a Farmington police officer, to testify in the trial.
Ripol said in the motion that Bloomfield reviewed the evidence in the case against Markham and the police officer believes Markham was justified in shooting Lucero.
Ripol's motion states Bloomfield was told by his Farmington police superiors that testifying on Markham's defense wouldn't be a "wise decision," according to court documents. The motion asks that the court sanction the state for threatening Bloomfield to prevent him from testifying.
Assistant District Attorney David Cowen said in a response to the motion that Bloomfield spoke with Ripol casually about "self-defense" scenarios and that the officer doesn't wish to testify on Markham's behalf. Cowen's motion said Bloomfield won't be in town during the trial and that he wanted to tell the judge the allegations Ripol made against his superiors weren't true.
O'Brien said attorneys from both sides of the case met with District Judge John Dean for an off-the-record conversation on Thursday, and the motion hearing was canceled.
Ripol said he will now file another motion to have the trial continued so he can find another expert witness to review evidence in the case.
Markham is accused of killing Lucero, 34, during a domestic violence dispute at a home on County Road 3958 in Crouch Mesa.
Lucero was allegedly attacking Leandra Tafoya when he was fatally wounded. Lucero and Tafoya, who had been in a relationship, had three children, one of whom was in the home when Lucero was shot.
According to court documents, Lucero entered Tafoya's home and started to attack her. She told police he beat her, threw her to the ground and started to kick her until she nearly passed out, according to court documents.
Markham, who was doing house chores outside of Tafoya's home, told police he entered the home when he heard Tafoya scream.
He told police that he saw Lucero push Tafoya to the ground. Then Lucero turned and started walking toward Markham, who pulled out a pistol, loaded the weapon and shot Lucero three times, according to court documents.
Markham told investigators he shot Lucero when the man was charging toward him. Tafoya told investigators Markham shot Lucero, and Lucero fell to the floor, saying "Sorry, sorry." At that time, Tafoya said Lucero was still heading toward Markham, who shot the man another time.
After the shooting, Markham walked outside and pushed Nicole Lynch to the ground. Lynch was a woman who arrived at the Tafoya's home with Lucero.
Markham then fired his gun once into the air, placed it in a truck and smoked a cigarette as he waited for police to arrived, according to court documents.
Markham allegedly admitted to San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigators that he and Lucero had been feuding with each in the months prior to the fatal shooting. He also said he knew the couple had a history of domestic violence, according to court documents.
A month before the fatal shooting, Markham told Lucero that he "had a bullet for him," according to court documents.
Markham was booked into jail on Dec. 13 and then released on bond Jan. 1, 2012. He remained free on bond until he was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana on June 20 and was released the next day.
He was booked into jail again on June 26 and has since remained incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center, according to jail records.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.