A murder suspect in Albuquerque entered a plea deal with the prosecution for another murder case from 2017. Craig Smith took the no-contest plea on Monday, August 30th. The murder suspect in Albuquerque pleaded no-contest to second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement.
This plea is for killing Terry Williams in 2017. According to a news report, officers found the deceased burnt to death at a campground in the east mountains. The police said they caught Smith breaking into William’s apartment on camera, leading to an armed robbery charge to which the defendant pleaded no contest.
The man could get a 15-year-prison sentence for the murder and armed robbery offenses. However, the District Attorney’s Office said sentencing might have to wait until Smith goes to trial for the murder of his aunt, Josephine Ortega.
Smith’s no-contest plea comes in a month where high-profile murder trials have become the new normal in New Mexico. This is because courts resumed jury trials as the justice system emerged from the pandemic lockdowns. As a result, judges in Albuquerque faced with limited capacity prioritize defendants who have remained in jail awaiting trial for years.
When the Supreme Court lifted the ban on courts from holding jury trials due to the pandemic, courts were hesitant to hear sensational cases because they took longer and needed more jurors. But that has changed with courts following safety while delivering justice to those who need it.
The resumption of jury trials calls for defendants to get the best legal representation they can to mitigate their sentence or obtain an acquittal. At FBD Law, our Albuquerque criminal defense lawyers are ready to help defendants receive either of the two. So, do you need a criminal defense lawyer? Contact us today.