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Judge Drops Manslaughter Charges Against APD Officers

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Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal
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Former APD officer Keith Sandy (center) with his attorneys Sam Bregman and Monnica Garcia

District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield declined Wednesday to drop the second-degree murder charges against two former Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd in 2014. But she did drop voluntary manslaughter charges, leaving jurors with fewer options for their verdict.

Lawyer Monnica Garcia, represents former officer Keith Sandy and argued for all charges to be dropped. "We do not believe that the state has presented sufficient evidence either direct or circumstantial, that the defendant did not act in self-defense, defense of another, or commit a justifiable homicide by peace officer," she told the judge.

The defense has been trying to show that Sandy was protecting a K-9 officer, who they say was in danger. The defense lawyer for  Dominique Perez argued that there has been no evidence that the officers were enraged or out of control when they shot Boyd. The judge agreed and dropped the manslaughter charges for both.

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday. Sandy and Dominique Perez are still facing up to 15 years in prison.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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