GALLUP — Something "switched on" in his head when he struck Dr. James Nordstrom with a pool cue stick for the first time, said John Mayes in an interview with police the day after his arrest on murder charges more than two years ago.
During the third day of Mayes' trial in Gallup on Friday, prosecutors played the recording of the final interview Mayes gave detectives after his arrest. They also played a recording of Mayes' preliminary hearing where he said the doctor attempted to sexually assault him.
Mayes, 20, is charged with an open count of murder. Nordstrom was killed on June 9, 2011, in his Farmington home.
Jeffrey Buckels, one of Mayes' attorneys, was critical of detectives for interviewing Mayes for hours without an attorney or his parents present. Buckels also said in court that police gave theories to Mayes about what happened in Nordstrom's house. The detectives read Mayes his Miranda rights.
The interview with police was on June 11, 2011, at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center.
The night before, Mayes admitted to police that he snuck into Nordstrom's home and waited in his bedroom for about an hour before bludgeoning him to death and burying him under a wood pile on the doctor's property.
Former San Juan County Sheriff's Office Deputy Dick Otero, a friend of Nordstrom, and Detective Tim Nyce uncovered the body the evening of June 10.
"I opened up the blanket, and it was my friend Jim," Otero said in court on Friday.
The day after finding the body, detectives questioned Mayes about rumors of a possible sexual relationship between Mayes and the doctor.
"I didn't know him at all," Mayes told police.
Detectives asked several times if there was a relationship between the two prior to the attack. Mayes denied it every time.
Mayes told police he was in Nordstrom's bedroom and could tell the doctor was watching TV. When the doctor got up and went to his basement, Mayes grabbed a pool cue stick and went back into bedroom and waited.
"I was going to defend myself. Well, it wouldn't be defending myself. I didn't know if I was going to hurt him or if I was going to leave," Mayes said. "He stayed up and watched TV a long time. I don't know why I didn't leave. I didn't know he was coming back, he surprised me and I was right there."
Mayes told detectives Nordstrom walked into his bedroom, and Mayes struck him with the thick end of the pool cue, prompting Nordstrom to stagger backward.
"When I hit him, I kind of backed off, and I was going to stop. He got back up and came toward me and that made me afraid so I kept hitting him," Mayes said in the recording. "The first time I hit him I wasn't feeling anything. When he got back up and said 'Who the f--- are you?' and he came back towards me. When he came towards me something switched on in my head."
Also on Friday, prosecutors called a crime scene analyst for the state of New Mexico who processed Nordstrom's house and a DNA analyst.
Roslynd Archuleta, the DNA analyst, said Nordstrom's blood was throughout his home and on Mayes when Mayes was arrested.
During cross examination, Archuleta said there was a black sleeveless shirt on Nordstrom's kitchen counter when police searched the home. The shirt didn't have blood on it, and one of Mayes' attorneys, Stephen Taylor, said the doctor took his shirt off during a game of pool with Mayes, which provoked the attack.
Archuleta also said on cross examination that Nordstrom's semen was found on his body.
Prosecutors have already called several witnesses in an attempt to prove Nordstrom wasn't gay. On Thursday, they called one of Nordstrom's ex-girlfriends who said the doctor was heterosexual. Four former inmates at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center also said in court on Thursday that Mayes told them he wasn't sexually assaulted before he attacked Nordstrom.
Next week, Mayes' attorneys said they will argue their client was defending himself from Nordstrom's sexual advances. They also plan to call psychiatrists who will testify that Mayes suffers from "Reactive Attachment Disorder" because of his troubled childhood, which influenced the statements he made to police. Mayes was adopted from the Ukraine when he was 5 years old by Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes and his wife.
"My real parents didn't want me and my sister. They are druggies and alcoholics and stuff, and they left me and my sister on the side of the road," Mayes told police in the recording played for jurors Friday. "That's something that's always been on the back of my mind."Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.