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Man gets 17 years for murder

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By The Staff

A man convicted of killing another has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

In June, Frank Lucero was convicted by a San Miguel County jury for second-degree murder and child abuse. Recently, District Judge Eugenio Mathis sentenced Lucero.

John Gonzales was shot and killed by Lucero on June 3, 2007, at a house on New Mexico Avenue, according to police reports.

Lucero was at the New Mexico Avenue house. Shortly before 5 p.m., John Gonzales arrived at the apartment, but never entered the residence, authorities said.

As Gonzales arrived, Lucero went into the kitchen of the apartment and shot one round through the window and then went to the doorway and shot five rounds at Gonzales, reports state. Gonzales was standing outside when he was shot.

During the incident, Lucero also pointed the gun at a young woman and her 3-month old child, which resulted in a child abuse conviction, officials said.

Lucero claimed self-defense — testifying that Gonzales and another person were there to “beat him” and that Gonzales pointed a gun at him through a window.

However, none of the witnesses testified in support of his claims, including his own friends and girlfriend who were present during the incident, District Attorney Richard Flores said.

All six bullet casings found at the crime scene came from Lucero’s own handgun, Flores said. Testimony was introduced that Lucero had been drinking vodka and beer before the shooting and that cocaine was also used, Flores said.

Flores said Lucero faces an additional eight years under the Habitual Offender Act, meaning that because Lucero had two prior felony convictions, this sentence could be enhanced by eight years. That matter is still pending and will come before Judge Mathis at a later date, the district attorney said.

The case was investigated by the Las Vegas Police Department with detective Roy Pacheco as the lead investigator. Thomas Clayton and Edward Gallegos, both prosecutors from the local district attorney’s office, represented the state. Lucero was represented by Mark Earnest from the Capital Crimes Unit in Albuquerque.

Earnest didn’t return a message left on Tuesday.