Rick Stallings was sentenced to life in prison for homicide


FARMINGTON — Convicted murderer Rick Stallings is accused of punching a detention officer in the face at the San Juan County jail when the officer declined to change the TV channel.

Stallings, 53, is accused of a fourth-degree felony count of battery upon a peace officer, according to court records.

He is accused of punching a detention officer in the face on June 5 at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. He was still being held at the detention center because he faces two additional cases in local court that are awaiting trial.

Pilar Murray is the standby counsel for Stallings, who elected to serve as his own attorney in the case.

She said the San Juan County District Attorney's Office has chosen to charge Stallings with what amounts to a disagreement over who can and can't use the remote to change channels on a TV at the jail as a fourth-degree felony.

Stallings was sentenced on Dec. 13 to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of five felony counts, including first-degree murder in the death of Karen Cugnini, according to The Daily Time archives.

A deputy for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was dispatched around 9:03 p.m. on June 5 to the county jail on a report of a battery, according to court documents.

The officer told the deputy Stallings accused the detention officers of hiding or taking the TV remotes home.

Stallings allegedly became agitated and started cursing at the officer, who stated he would not change the TV channel because Stallings was mouthing off.

While Stallings was being transported back to his cell, he alleged punched the guard on the left side of his face with his right hand.

A preliminary hearing in Aztec Magistrate Court was continued until July 19 following a motion filed on Wednesday, according to court documents.

More: Man draws life sentence for murder of Flora Vista woman

Stallings found guilty of first-degree murder

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