San Juan County District Attorney's Office contemplates murder charges in Farmington man's death

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Prosecutors are reviewing the death in October of a 32-year-old Farmington man to determine whether the San Juan County District Attorney's Office will file murder charges.

Brandon Manchester died in the emergency unit at San Juan Regional Medical Center on Oct. 21 after three days on life support.

Manchester, known to family as "BeeZee Lee" and "Uncle Goombah," was drunk at a party in Farmington on Oct. 19 when he got in a fight with a 25-year-old man, according to an autopsy report.

He was struck several times in the head and fell into unconsciousness, the report states. He was transported to the hospital, where CPR was performed, but doctors could not save him.

Manchester's blood-alcohol content level was 0.343 when he was admitted to the hospital, according to the autopsy report.

However, an official with the Office of the Medical Investigator determined Manchester's death was caused by head trauma resulting from the blows to his head and ruled his death a homicide.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said his office is reviewing the Farmington Police Department's investigation into the death, as well as the autopsy report, to determine whether to press charges against the 25-year-old man who struck Manchester.

However, O'Brien said, several factors, including Manchester's blood-alcohol content, will be taken into consideration to determine whether the suspect is liable for Manchester's death.

"Homicide doesn't mean criminal liability," O'Brien said.

Homicide is an act or omission resulting in the death of another person, O'Brien said. Criminal homicide refers to causing another's death through conduct that was intentional, knowing, reckless or extremely negligent, without justification.

Brandon Manchester's father, Patrick, said his son worked for San Juan Casing Service laying oil pipes throughout the region. Brandon Manchester was married for more than five years to Trina Manchester, who he met shortly after graduating high school.

Patrick Manchester said his son was a big man but was "bubbly."

"He was a prankster, jovial, always joking," he said.

He was a good Christian and loved the Lord, Patrick Manchester said.

He said the family is holding up, despite the loss.

"When something like this happens, there are things that remind you," he said. "I won't lie to you, I wouldn't wish this on anyone else."

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.