ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The case of the Uber driver who shot and killed a customer on I-25 is going to the New Mexico Supreme Court. Clayton Benedict admits he fired the shot that killed his passenger James Porter on St. Patricks Day in 2019 but says he did it in self-defense. Police say Benedict pulled over on the shoulder of I-25 near Montano and told Porter to get out after his friend vomited in his car, then refused to pay a clean-up charge.
Benedict says they were arguing outside the car when Porter tried to hop in the driver’s seat and threatened to run him over, so Benedict shot him. At the preliminary hearing, prosecutors played Benedict’s conversation with police where he told investigators the only reason it happened was that Porter was out of control.
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Prosecutors were asking a judge to send the case to trial on second-degree murder charges and a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. A district judge ruled there was not enough evidence for the second-degree murder charge. The District Attorney’s office fought the ruling and the appeals court decided there was enough evidence and reinstated the murder charge. Benedict’s attorney asked the state Supreme Court to look into the case and the court ruled yesterday they will review the appeals court decision.
There is no word yet on when the case will be heard in the state Supreme Court. The justices will also consider what criteria the appeals court should use before altering the charges set by a judge in a preliminary hearing.