Witness says defendant talked about a shooting

Trial of Kenneth Burrows continues in 2014 death of Daniel Boone

Joshua Kellogg
Defendant Kenneth Burrows listens Friday during his murder trial at District Court in Aztec.
  • Boone was shot to death Jan. 18, 2014, after being lured out of his Flora Vista home.
  • James Miller said Burrows told him about a shooting while both men were in federal custody.
  • A forensic expert testified that a shell casing found at the scene matched a handgun recovered by police.

AZTEC — A witness testified in court today that murder defendant Kenneth Burrows told him he shot someone after that person had been lured out of a house by a female.

The testimony was followed by the defense and prosecution resting their cases to end the third day of the trial today.

Burrows, 46, is accused of first-degree murder in the death of Daniel Boone, who was lured out of a home on County Road 3235 in Flora Vista and shot to death on Jan. 18, 2014.

Witness James Miller gave the testimony while being questioned by San Juan County Assistant District Attorney Keith Mandelski.

Miller has prior felony convictions that were mostly drug related and is currently incarnated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., according to court documents. He told the court he was in federal custody with Burrows when Burrows mentioned a shooting.

Cosme Ripoli, one of Burrows' attorneys, questioned Miller's history of corroborating with law enforcement officials. Ripoli asked Miller if authorities often shared information with him about suspects they believed had been involved in criminal acts. Miller responded that he only worked with law enforcement on cases involving people he had done drug deals with.

Mandelski followed by asking Miller if he was being paid by the government and if he was offered a reduced sentence for testifying. Miller answered no to both questions.

Judge Bradford J. Dalley presides over the murder trial of Kenneth Burrows Friday at District Court in Aztec.

Steve Guerra, who works at the Santa Fe forensic lab of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, also testified today. Guerra said he determined that a bullet and a misfired cartridge found at the scene had been fired from the same, unknown firearm.

The bullet was discovered under Boone's body while it was being transported from the scene.

Guerra also performed follow-up work on the case after a handgun was recovered by law enforcement officials.

Tim Nyce, a San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy, testified on Thursday that Tiki Marez told law enforcement officials in late 2015 about the possible location of a handgun that may have been tied to the case. Burrows and Marez had been charged on Oct. 27, 2015, in Aztec Magistrate Court with first-degree murder. Their cases are being handled separately.

More: Couple charged in 2014 cold case murder

After an investigation into the weapon's whereabouts, Nyce said the location of the handgun was narrowed down to a room at an Albuquerque hotel. It was determined a 9mm Astar handgun had been picked up from that location by the Albuquerque Police Department and later was found in the APD evidence locker room.

Guerra said a forensic examination of the bullet found at the Boone murder scene and a test firing from the Asta handgun produced inconclusive results. He said the handgun could have fired the found bullet, but he was unsure.

But he did say the shell casing found at the murder scene matched the shell casing from a test round fired from the Asta with "practical certainty."

Christian Hatfield, one of Burrows' attorneys, asked Guerra during cross-examination if the bullet could have been fired from another handgun. Guerra responded that it could have.

The trial will resume Monday morning with closing arguments from the attorneys, followed by jury deliberations.

A trial of Burrows earlier this month was declared a mistrial after the judge determined improper testimony had been given by witnesses.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.