RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The Rio Rancho man accused of murdering a 6-year-old in August 2018 is scheduled to go on trial in less than two weeks. His attorneys are fighting to limit what evidence can be introduced and what words the prosecution and their witnesses can say.
Leland Hust is charged with raping and killing Ariana Romeo in August 2018 at a home on Moonstone Drive near Highway 528 and Northern. Officers found 6-year-old Ariana was found dead and half-naked on a bloody foam mattress in a makeshift bedroom of the home.
Rio Rancho Police had Hust’s DNA and said two months later they matched it to evidence at the crime scene.
Now Hust’s attorney wants to limit what DNA evidence can be admitted and also what words witnesses will be allowed to use. Hust does not want the word “match” to be used in the trial. His attorney claims that the tests did only say he could not be eliminated as a contributor and that other DNA samples were found at the crime. Also stating that is up to the jury to rule whether it was Hust’s
Hust’s attorney also doesn’t want the word saliva used at trial the state’s forensic expert ran tests to find saliva on the victim’s body.
The attorney says the expert say that the test doesn’t actually test for saliva so that would sway the jury and is not accurate.
The prosecution is fighting the motions. A hearing on these motions is scheduled for later this month because of the motion hearing jury selection has been pushed back to the end of March.