ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE/AP) – Opening statements for a man accused of fatally shooting five people in 2017, including three family members is scheduled to begin Wednesday. Damian Herrera is charged with killing his mother, stepfather and brother at the family’s home north of Española in June 2017.

Wednesday’s testimony started with Herrera’s sister who witnessed it all. Damian Herrera’s younger sister watched the murder unfold at their La Madera home in 2017. She got emotional Wednesday as she described the scene.

“I don’t know how Damian got Brendon on his knees, a shot went straight through him, he went purple,” described Carissa. “My mom came running from my dad, got Brendon and asked why Damian, why, what was wrong with him, telling him not to do it to her,” Carissa remembered.

The state showed body cam video from that afternoon, showing Carissa begging police to let her see her mom, who was already dead. Carissa called 911, they played that call in court.

Herrera’s defense delivered a brief opening statement and said he will not take the stand. This trial is expected to last through August 20th.


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Authorities say he also killed a man in Abiquiu and another two in Taos. The trial that’s underway is for the four Rio Arriba County murders. The trial in the Taos County case has not yet been scheduled.

Police arrested Herrera after he crashed during a police chase on U.S. 84 north of Española the night of the killings. Herrera’s trial has been delayed several times over questions of his mental competency and COVID-19 concerns. He will be tried separately in connection with the fatal shooting of a Taos County man, but no trial date has been scheduled yet.