HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – Facing trial on accusations that she threw a newborn baby in the trash, Alexis Avila is asking for a new county and potential different pool of jurors for her case. In a motion filed earlier this month, Avila’s attorney is asking for a change of venue for the case, partly arguing indications that a large number of jurors have already indicated prejudice.
The high-profile case unfolded in Hobbs in January 2022 when police responded to a dumpster at the Broadmoor Shopping Center. Three people who had been digging through the dumpster found the child in a trash bag, alive with an umbilical cord still attached. Then-18-year-old Alexis Avila was arrested a short time later, admitting she put the child in a trash bag. Surveillance video also captured the incident.
Pointing to dozens of news articles on the case, Avila’s attorney wants the case moved out of the Fifth Judicial District Court which includes Lea, Chaves and Eddy Counties. She also believes jurors within the 9th Judicial District Court’s Roosevelt County (Portales) may also be affected by extensive media coverage.
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Avila is facing one first degree felony count of child abuse causing great bodily harm. During a hearing last year, she faced a crowd of more than a dozen people outside the Lovington courthouse yelling “no justice, no peace” in response to the case.
In a filing from Avila’s attorney, Ibukun Adepoju, the defense argues the case has received major media attention from Lea County news outlets, nearby newspapers and television stations covering most of the state. Avila’s attorney also argues some media coverage has been prejudicial.
In prepping for the case, Avila’s defense claims it submitted more than 150 potential juror questionnaires to the public in November. Of those questionnaires returned, only 47 potential jurors said they “saw information about the incident but felt they could be impartial.”
102 potential jurors, according to the defense, “saw information about the incident and indicated prejudice.” Avila’s defense is asking for the trial to be moved out of Lea County to Lincoln County, home of Carrizozo, Capitan and Ruidoso.
“Only a minimal amount of potential jurors indicated they did not see information about the incident,” wrote Ibukun Adepoju, Avila’s attorney. A judge has yet to rule on the motion and there’s no indication as to when that will happen.
Avila is currently slated to go to trial in April 2023. She remains on house arrest while awaiting trial.