KUNM

James Boyd

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After officers shot and killed a man camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains in 2014, outcry over how Albuquerque police deal with people who have mental illness reached a fever pitch. More than three years later, Bernalillo County announced on Tuesday, May 23, that it’s rolling out long-promised teams of mental health experts to respond to crisis calls. 

Massachusetts General Hospital and Draper Labs via Wikimedia / Creative Commons

LISTEN: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In 2014 voters in Bernalillo County voted in favor of a tax for increased mental health services. This came after the shooting by police of James Boyd, a homeless man who had schizophrenia, as well as other shootings by police of people who struggled with mental illness. The tax went into effect in 2015 and is providing up to $20 million annually for new programs through the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Last fall, a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict for the two former Albuquerque Police Department Officers facing murder charges for shooting and killing homeless camper James Boyd. And that left the door open for another trial. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In a historic trial earlier this year, a jury weighed the fates of two former Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed James Boyd. Three jurors could not be swayed from a guilty verdict.

The deadlock resulted in a mistrial, and days after it was announced, KUNM’s Marisa Demarco met with one of those jurors—Robby Heckman—in the Foothills of the Sandia Mountains. There, a small white cross marks the spot James Boyd stood before he was killed.

During the murder trial of two former Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed a man with mental illness, video and audio of James Boyd ranting and threatening police officers was played by the defense. The neighbor who called the police on him took the stand to say that he was afraid of the man, who was homeless and camping nearby in the Sandia Foothills. Boyd might not have had a lot of other options.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Two Albuquerque police officers were charged with second-degree murder for an on-the-job shooting for the first time in at least half a century. They were facing up to 15 years in prison for killing James Boyd, who’d been camping illegally for about a month in the Foothills of the Sandia Mountains in 2014. The jury announced that it was deadlocked Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Juan Labreche / Associated Press

The jury is deliberating whether two former Albuquerque police officers will be convicted of second-degree murder after shooting and killing James Boyd, a homeless man with mental illness in 2014.

Boyd’s brother Andrew Jones wrote in an email that it was painful to watch his brother killed again and again as the video was replayed in court. Boyd won’t be forgotten, he wrote, and that gives him some comfort. His life mattered. 

Marla Brose / Albuquerque Journal

After James Boyd was shot and killed by members of the Albuquerque Police Department, a recording emerged of one of those officers telling a colleague he was going to shoot Boyd hours before he did it. Keith Sandy is facing aggravated battery and second-degree murder charges. During much of his testimony on Wednesday, Oct. 5, he tried to explain police culture and the banter between officers.

Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal

The defense asked the judge on Wednesday, Oct. 5, to dismiss all charges against the two former Albuquerque Police Department officers who shot James Boyd in 2014. 

Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal

After members of the Albuquerque Police Department killed James Boyd in 2014, audio was released of one officer saying he was going to shoot Boyd with a Taser shotgun before he’d even gone into the Foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

For the first time in memory, two former Albuquerque police officers are facing second-degree murder charges for an on-the-job shooting. And their trial is offering a rare glimpse into the mindset of law enforcement in tense situations. Former officer Dominique Perez took the stand in his own defense on Tuesday.

Marla Brose / Albuquerque Journal

Two former Albuquerque police officers are facing murder charges for what could be the first time here. The effectiveness of the SWAT team in dangerous situations has come into play during the trial, and police who were there the day James Boyd was shot in 2014 have been testifying in court. It’s the first time the public has heard directly from many of these officers. 

Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal

The defense has started putting on its case on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the trial of two Albuquerque police officers facing murder charges for shooting and killing James Boyd.  There were protests in Albuquerque after the shooting, and many people objected to police treatment of the homeless man, who had a mental illness.

Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal

A longtime Los Angeles police officer and trainer took the stand on Friday, Sept. 30, to testify that the Albuquerque police who were near James Boyd before he was killed were acting professionally.

Roberto Rosales / Albuquerque Journal

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the trial of two former Albuquerque officers, and now it’s the defense’s turn to present the events that led to the death of James Boyd, the homeless man killed by police in 2014. 

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