“I didn’t touch her”: Police interview with man accused of killing Rio Rancho girl

Crime

Day 5 of trial

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The trial of Leland Hust is entering day five on Wednesday as he is accused of raping and killing a 6-year-old Rio Rancho girl in 2018. Wednesday prosecutors played another interview of Hust. The officer on the stand said Hust’s stories didn’t match up.

“There was a mention where he stated I went to sleep right away, and there there were mentions on somewhere in between those times,” said the officer. “The first time was very direct and then as we kind of probed and questioned more, is when the inconsistencies started to come out.”

Video played in court Wednesday, showed Hust getting more and more agitated as investigators press him for answers.

Investigator: “Your DNA is in places it shouldn’t be.”
Hust: “I didn’t touch her. Why? Why is my DNA on stuff? I didn’t touch her.”

Investigators testified that details of Hust’s story changed from one interview to the next but Hust kept denying any memory of hurting Ariana.

During day four of the trial, a video was played of a safe house interview with Hust from November 11, 2018. In the video, Hust says Romeo was fine when he went to bed the previous evening. However, an autopsy says Romeo was found strangled.

A medical examiner was cross-examined about her findings involving several pieces of evidence including the rape kit. The state argued the findings put Hust at the scene however, the defense says his DNA isn’t the only male DNA found.

Hust is expected to take the stand before the conclusion of the trial which is expected to last seven to ten days. Hust faces life in prison if convicted.

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