John Mayes waits for his trial to begin in last November at the Eleventh Judicial District Court of New Mexico in Gallup.
John Mayes waits for his trial to begin in last November at the Eleventh Judicial District Court of New Mexico in Gallup. (Daily Times file photo)

FARMINGTON — A district court judge is expected to hear arguments Friday on whether John Mayes, convicted last fall of second-degree murder in the slaying of Dr. James Nordstrom, should be sentenced as a juvenile or an adult.

Judge William Birdsall will preside over the amenability hearing, which is held to determine whether or not a juvenile is amenable to treatment and rehabilitation through the juvenile justice system.

Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said he is requesting that Mayes be sentenced as an adult. He pointed out that Mayes will "age out" of the juvenile justice system in September at age 21, regardless of whether he is successfully rehabilitated.

"To be amenable, the court has to determine him treatable by his 21st birthday," Capshaw said.

Defense attorneys Jeffrey Buckels and Scott Curtis could not be reached for comment.

Capshaw said that Mayes has been evaluated by a court-appointed psychologist who specializes in amenability assessments. That report will be presented at Friday's hearing, Capshaw said.

Mayes would face a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment if he were sentenced as an adult.

After a two-week trial, Mayes was convicted in November of murdering Nordstrom with a pool stick in June 2011 at the doctor's home on San Marcos Drive in Farmington. He was also convicted of aggravated burglary and four lesser property crimes.

Mayes pleaded guilty through an Alford plea in May for his role in plotting a prison break at a local juvenile detention center in January 2012. According to The Daily Times archive, Mayes, then 18, and two juvenile accomplices planned to snap the neck of a night guard before scaling a fence and fleeing.

According to the plea agreement, one count of conspiracy to commit murder was dismissed in favor of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Mayes also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to attempt to escape from jail and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mayes agreed to serve a six-year prison sentence as part of the plea agreement, not including the time he has served since his initial incarceration on the murder charges.

Mayes is scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing Monday in the jail break case, according to court records. Capshaw said he expects that the hearing will be delayed until the judge makes a ruling in the homicide case.

Mayes is the adopted son of Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes.

If John Mayes is convicted and sentenced to prison in both cases, it is not yet clear whether he would serve the terms consecutively or concurrently.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.