Police make progress in Farmington man's murder

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Five months after Seth Stallings was found shot dead in south Farmington, police are continuing to put together a murder case.

Lt. Daryl Noon of the Farmington Police Department said Friday that detectives have been chasing leads throughout the state and parts of Colorado, and, despite an early error in the case that led to a wrongful arrest, a suspect has been identified.

He declined to name the suspect, citing the pending investigation, but the progress provides hope to the Stallings' family, who still seeks justice for the 22-year-old father of two young girls.

"We had a long heart-to-heart talk before he passed," Stallings' mother, Rebecca Sanchez-Zeller, said in an interview Friday. "We had a long talk about a lot of things. Maybe it was his time to go, but it shouldn't have been like this."

Sanchez-Zeller is raising Stallings' daughters, Isabella, 3, and Liliana, 2, who watch a video of their father every evening before they go to bed.

"They still ask about him every day," Stallings' sister, Lacey Sanchez, said.

Stallings was found by a coworker dead of a single gunshot wound to the head shortly before 7:15 p.m. Sept. 3 at a residence at 306 Sycamore St., according to a search warrant.

The residence was being rented by Rolando Jacquez, the warrant states. He told police he was letting his friend William "Scrappy" Wilson live there while he stayed with his mother-in-law.

Jacquez told police Wilson called him in a panic at about 7 p.m. Sept. 3. Wilson told Jacquez a young man named "Old School" had shot Stallings in the head, the warrant states.

Sanchez said Friday that her brother and Wilson were not on good terms prior to the shooting, and Wilson had threatened to kill Stallings a few weeks before the incident.

Stallings' girlfriend, Angel Bonnie, said Friday that Wilson was obsessively jealous about Stallings' relationship with Wilson's girlfriend, Charmaine Lucero.

"Scrappy came over one day, and his face was bleeding from banging his head against the wall," Bonnie said. "He said, 'Seth can have her. I don't want her.'"

Sanchez said her brother never dated Lucero, but they were friends from childhood.

Lucero was charged earlier this month with first-degree attempted murder in the shooting of a 22-year-old man outside the Farmers Market in Bloomfield.

Detectives suspected Wilson was at Lucero's residence on the night of Stallings' shooting and went there in search of him.

At Lucero's residence, detectives found Rafael "Junior" Velasquez, who allegedly identified himself as "Old School" and made suspicious statements about the shooting.

Velasquez was placed under arrest and charged with homicide in connection to the shooting. The case was dropped two weeks later after prosecutors determined they lacked sufficient evidence to charge him.

Noon said the case has been complicated by the many ambiguous nicknames used by individuals connected to the crime and the gossip on the street and on social media.

The department's gang unit became involved in the investigation, Noon said, to help parse information and aliases.

Detectives continue to seek information related to the murder and are urging anyone with information to contact the detectives division at 505-599-1005.

Stallings' family also urges witnesses to come forward with information.

"Even if not for Seth, his girls or for us, people should come forward for their own conscience," Sanchez-Zeller said. "How do they sleep every day living with this?"

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.