John Mayes sentenced to 33 years in prison in death of Dr. James Nordstrom

Steve Garrison
The Daily Times

AZTEC — John Mayes was sentenced Wednesday to 33 years in prison for second-degree murder, among other offenses, in the slaying of Dr. James Nordstrom at his Farmington home in June 2011.

Mayes was further sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to multiple felonies stemming from a plotted jailbreak from the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center in January 2012. However, he will serve those six years concurrent to the murder sentence.

Prosecutors argued that Mayes should serve the sentences consecutively.

Mayes was sentenced to 33 years in prison for charges that include second-degree murder, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, fraudulent use of a credit car and attempted residential burglary.

The additional six-year prison sentence was for charges that include conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, conspiracy to attempt to escape from jail and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mayes offered an apology and condolences to the friends and family of Nordstrom, many of whom attended the sentencing hearing.

"My actions do not reflect on what I would like to become," Mayes said. "I now know how to better handle myself so that what happened will not occur."

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw spoke briefly during his sentencing argument. He said in his 14 years as an attorney, the Nordstrom murder case was the worst he has prosecuted.

He explained the way Mayes' methodically and deliberately killed Nordstrom the night of June 9, 2011 when Mayes was only 17 years old.

"He continually bludgeoned him in the back of the head, as he tried to crawl away," Capshaw said. "Blood splattered onto the 10-foot ceiling. I can't image a more violent death."

He said Mayes then "set up shop" at Nordstrom's home, downloading pornography, masturbating and fleeing with the doctor's credit cards and vehicle.

"I can't find a case that calls more for the maximum sentence," Capshaw said.

Two psychologists spoke on behalf of Mayes, arguing that the now 21-year-old could be rehabilitated through intensive therapy.

Gary White, a psychiatrist who has counseled Mayes for more than three years, said he has seen an improvement in the young man's behavior over the years.

He said he would be willing to continue providing Mayes counseling if he is placed at a correctional facility in the Albuquerque area.

Stephen Taylor, one of Mayes' attorney, requested that Mayes' be sentenced to 15 years, the maximum sentence for second-degree murder.

"Give him the treatment that he needs, so that this will not occur again," he said in court.

After the sentencing, Taylor said he had no comment on the sentence but said he plans to appeal it.

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