Farmington man charged with murder in Sycamore Street shooting

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A 20-year-old Farmington man has been arrested in connection to the fatal shooting in September of Seth Stallings.

Juanito Cordova was charged Friday in Farmington Magistrate Court with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Friday an initial court appearance for Cordova has not been scheduled.

According to the arrest warrant, Cordova admitted in an interview with Bloomfield police detectives on April 2 that he murdered Stallings, 22, on Sept. 3 at a residence at 306 Sycamore St. in Farmington.

Lt. Daryl Noon of the Farmington Police Department said Friday that Cordova was being questioned by Bloomfield police in connection to the shooting of a 26-year-old man outside the Bloomfield Farmers Market on Feb. 9.

Cordova later told Farmington police detectives in an interview that he "felt bad" about shooting Stallings and wanted to put the incident behind him.

"I'm tired of stressing," he said, according to the complaint.

Cordova told police he sold the firearm used in the shooting, a 40-caliber pistol, for drugs and discarded the clothes he was wearing at the time, the warrant states.

Asked why he shot Stallings, Cordova allegedly told detectives he was tired of being "punked," according to the warrant.

As previously reported by The Daily Times, police tried to question Cordova in the weeks after the shooting, but he refused to answer questions without an attorney present.

According to the arrest warrant, he was eventually questioned by police on Oct. 9 at the La Plata County jail in Colorado.

In that interview, he told police he was drinking at the residence at 306 Sycamore St. with William "Scrappy" Wilson and Stallings on the day of the shooting, the warrant states.

He told police he lost a crucifix outside the residence at one point and began looking for it, the warrant states. He told detectives while he was looking for it, he heard a single gunshot, and Wilson came out of the residence armed with a black handgun.

He said he then ran from the residence and stayed at a relative's house that night, according to the warrant.

Stallings' girlfriend, Angel Bonnie, previously told The Daily Times that Wilson had threatened to kill Stallings a few weeks before the shooting.

Wilson told detectives on Sept. 4 that the gun used in the shooting belonged to him, but he had disassembled it so that Stallings knew he meant him no harm, the warrant states.

He told detectives that he and Stallings were talking in the family room and Cordova was in the kitchen with the gun, the warrant states.

Wilson claimed that Cordova reassembled the firearm, then walked into the family room and shot Stallings in the face, according to the warrant.

Noon said Cordova and Wilson were both persons of interest in the shooting, and he was surprised to hear Cordova admit to killing Stallings.

"It's my understanding that this was something that was eating away at him for some time," Noon said.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested the day after the shooting and was initially charged with murder in the shooting. However, the charges against him were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Stallings' mother, Rebecca Sanchez-Zeller, pleaded for her son's killer to come forward in February.

"We had a long heart-to-heart talk before he passed," she told The Daily Times. "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 could not be reached for comment Friday.

Bonnie said Friday that she learned a few weeks ago that Cordova had confessed in the shooting. She said she just wanted to know why he did it.

"I feel like Juanito in his right mind could not have murdered someone," she said in an email. "I wanna know why he did it. I believe drugs and (the) people that were there had a lot to do with it."

Stallings is survived by two daughters, Isabella, 3, and Liliana, 2.

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.