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Cody Soto murder trial set to start Tuesday

Steve Garrison
stgarrison@daily-times.com
Cody Soto

FARMINGTON — A trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday for Cody Soto, who was accused in 2013 of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death.

Soto, 26, was charged Aug. 28, 2013, with first-degree murder on allegations he repeatedly stabbed Brandy Robinson, 29, and then dumped her nude body in a remote location near the Bisti Highway on June 22, 2013, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Robinson was found to have suffered more than 22 stab wounds, and her throat was slit, the affidavit states. Wounds on her hands and forearms suggested she attempted to defend herself during the attack, the affidavit states.

Soto's trial was originally scheduled to begin in September, but it was delayed after the state indicated it would like to introduce at trial two witnesses who were previously unavailable, David Carter and Michael Graham.

Carter and Graham, ex-boyfriends of Robinson, were both persons of interest in her slaying.

Soto was charged with battering Robinson nine days before her death, according to court records. Robinson failed to appear as a witness at a preliminary examination hearing on the charges on June 20, 2013, causing Soto to be released pending a new hearing, according to the affidavit.

Police questioned Soto several times in connection to Robinson's death. The affidavit states he allegedly broke down crying during an interrogation on July 9, 2013, and admitted to detectives he stabbed Robinson.

However, during the same interview, he recanted and later provided incorrect details about Robinson's death, the affidavit states.

In a motion to dismiss filed Jan. 11, Soto's defense attorney, Liane Kerr, disputed that her client confessed to the crime,

"In reality, the State's law enforcement officers harassed Cody Soto incessantly and after approximately 10 hours of 'interviewing' Cody Soto, officers claimed that he admitted stabbing Brandy, something which the audio recordings belie," according to the motion.

Kerr states she has hired a false confessions expert to counter the state's claim of confession.

In the motion, Kerr also raised the question of whether Robinson's death was connected to the unsolved murder of a 61-year-old Farmington man whose body was found at the Rimrock Lodge in September.

Judge John Dean issued a limited gag order on Dec. 2 barring attorneys from commenting on the Robinson case.

Soto's trial is scheduled to conclude on Jan. 29.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.