Sunday, December 18, 2011

Farmington, NM: Shooter, victim had history of violence

FARMINGTON — Witnesses report that Monday's fatal shooting of a Farmington man stemmed from a domestic violence situation involving the deceased and his ex-girlfriend.
Christopher Lucero, 34, was shot three times shortly before 3 p.m. inside a residence on County Road 3958, where he went to see the mother of his three children.
He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Deputies arrested David Markham, 57, who at the time of the shooting told deputies that he was breaking up a physical fight between Lucero and Leandra Tafoya.
The couple's 4-year-old son was present at the time of the shooting.
Markham is charged with an open count of murder, third-degree felony child abuse, fourth-degree felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery.
Police records indicate there was a recent history of bad blood between Markham and Lucero, and that Markham made threats to Lucero in early November after Lucero allegedly stole Markham's cell phone.
"David said he had been calling the phone, but Christopher would not answer it, so he left a message for Chris saying if he wasn't man enough he had a bullet' for him," according to police records.
Markham reported that he remained at the residence Monday after bringing Tafoya home from school. He cut some wood and was in the process of replacing a broken window on Tafoya's van when Lucero arrived.
Lucero told Markham that he needed to leave, to which Markham replied that Lucero needed to leave because of an outstanding restraining order between him and Tafoya.
Lucero walked into the house and grabbed Tafoya "by the hair and proceeded to beat her, and he threw her on the floor," police records state.
While Tafoya was on the floor, Lucero allegedly beat and kicked her.
Markham, aware of a history of domestic issues between Tafoya and Lucero, went into the house when he heard Tafoya scream.
Markham told deputies that when Lucero turned toward him, he "pulled out his gun, loaded the weapon and fired two rounds in two seconds."
Lucero continued toward him again and Markham fired a third shot before Lucero fell to the floor.
Tafoya told police a slightly different story.
She claims Markham shot Lucero twice before Lucero fell to his knees and said "Sorry, sorry," according to police records. It was then that Markham allegedly fired the third shot.
Lucero's girlfriend, Nicole Lynch, was waiting in the car playing a scratch-off ticket when she heard three gunshots. She ran toward the residence and was at the top of the stairs when Markham exited the house.
In her first account to deputies, she reported that the door hit her and knocked her down. Later she said that Markham, who was holding a black semi-automatic gun, shoved her, causing her to fall back and hit her head on a tricycle.
Lynch suffered a concussion and possible cracked ribs, Detective Ken Weisheit said.
Tafoya had bruising and swelling on her face and soreness to her ribs and abdomen.
Markham, after the shooting, checked on Tafoya and went out to his truck where he ejected a live round. He pulled out the magazine and placed it with the firearm in a cubby hole behind the driver's side of the truck, according to his statements to police.
He then lit a cigarette and waited for police.
The story goes beyond a man simply defending a woman.
Based on the accounts by Tafoya and Markham, it appears Markham is "acting in defense of her and himself, but it goes way beyond the scope of what's reasonable," Sheriff's Lt. Cory Tanner said.
The fact that Markham, for several weeks prior to Monday, was telling people that he was going to kill Lucero because Lucero allegedly stole his cell phone, indicates a possible element of premeditation.
"We are battling with the fact for the last month, (Markham) has been telling people that he's going to kill this guy, and the next time he sees him, he kills him," Tanner said.
Markham has known both Tafoya and Lucero for years, Tafoya since she was a little girl and Lucero since he was a teenager. He also reported he was aware of the couple's extensive history with domestic violence.
In 2009, Lucero was arrested and charged with domestic violence after he took the couple's then 2-year-old son to Colorado. Lucero took the son following a domestic incident involving Tafoya, Weisheit said.
Law enforcement was alerted to the situation because Lucero reported that the son was dead. He later was located in southern Colorado and charged for the domestic violence incident and two previous incidents.
"The lack of victim cooperation hampered the investigation and the prosecution on it," Weisheit said.
Markham remains incarcerated at San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

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