Codefendant in Hopi Street Shooting asks judge to suppress evidence

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — One of two co-defendants accused of attempted murder in connection to the Hopi Street Shooting is asking a district judge to suppress statements he made while hospitalized.

Levi Wilson, 31, claims in a motion filed Feb. 2 that he was not read his rights or capable of answering questions when detectives asked him about the July 2013 shooting.

He further claims that information he provided during his interrogation was used to obtain a search warrant at his residence and that warrant is therefore also tainted and should be suppressed.

The motion hearing is scheduled to take place today at 4 p.m.

Police allege that Wilson and co-defendant Lawrence Kellywood fired wildly into a residence belonging to Michael Tafoya on July 27, 2013, according to an arrest warrant.

Tafoya returned fire and in the ensuing shootout an innocent bystander, Christopher Valdez, was killed, the warrant states.

Tafoya, Wilson, Kellywood and a woman in Tafoya's residence, Kathleen Keck, were all injured in the shootout.

Wilson managed to get back to his home, despite being shot in the arm, and was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center by his girlfriend, according to the warrant.

Detectives located Wilson at the hospital and questioned him about the shooting.

Wilson's attorney, Arlon Stoker, claims in the motion that Wilson was in a state of shock due to blood loss and was not capable of coherently answering the detectives' questions.

"That's kind of semantics is whatever my grandpa wants to name it," Wilson allegedly said, when detectives asked him the name of the trailer park where he lived.

Stoker further claims that Wilson was interrogated by the detectives on three separate occasions, but he was never read his Miranda rights.

According to the arrest warrant, Wilson provided conflicting statements to detectives about his injury, first claiming he was shot in the county and later claiming he was shot in Farmington.

A partially empty box of 9-millimeter ammunition, two handgun cases and a bloody right hand glove were seized from Wilson's home, the warrant states.

Assistant District Attorney Ronald Brambl conceded in a response to the motion filed Tuesday that the detectives interrogated Wilson, but claimed the defendant was free to leave the hospital and law enforcement did not impose any restraints on him.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said he could not comment on the strength of his office's case against Wilson or the impact a successful suppression motion would have on the case.

Arlon Stoker did not respond to a request for comment.

Wilson is currently charged with attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and shooting at an occupied building causing great bodily harm.

Wilson and Kellywood were initially charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Valdez, but those charges were dismissed by Chief District Judge John Dean in February 2014.

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.