Friday’s Top Stories

Friday’s Five Facts

[1] Jessica Kelley takes stand in trial for Victoria Martens killing – Testimony from the state’s key witness, Jessica Kelly, will continue for day three in the Fabian Gonzales trial. Kelly told the court her side of the story about the day Victoria was murdered. Kelly continued to blame the 10-year-old’s murder on an unidentified man who was out for revenge on Gonzales. She also told the jury she and Gonzales dismembered Victoria’s body. Kelly is expected back on the stand today.

[2] Judge dismisses murder charge against former Las Cruces officer – A judge has dismissed a second-degree murder charge against Christopher Smelser, a former Las Cruces police officer accused of killing Antonio Valenzuela with a chokehold. On day four of the trial a judge dismissed the charge against Smelser, via a direct verdict, which ended the trial. The state argued the technique was done improperly. Smelser’s defense team say the state didn’t prove Smelser intended to kill Valenzuela when he performed the chokehold.

[3] Storms for northern New Mexico through the weekend – This weekend, southern New Mexico will stay very dry, and storms will be possible in northern New Mexico. Storms will develop in the northern and western high terrain each afternoon, moving south/southwest into the northeast highlands, Rio Grande Valley and parts of the Four Corners through the evening. Some heavy downpours will be possible in the mountains, with a chance for burn scar flooding Saturday and Sunday.

[4] Assistance for New Mexico fire victims moves forward in Congress – A push to guarantee more federal help for New Mexico wildfire victims has cleared the House of Representatives in Washington. If signed into law, it would authorize full compensation for the losses of residents and businesses because of the fire. The financial help available now from FEMA is not meant to cover full losses. Lawmakers argue since the fire was the result of two federal prescribed burns, the government is responsible for making New Mexicans whole.

[5] Animal Welfare officer recognized – The City of Albuquerque took time to honor those who go above and beyond in their community with the latest ‘One Albuquerque Awards.’ Sergeant Raymond Candelaria was honored for his work as an animal welfare officer for helping with two dogs that were barking at and attacking residents of an Albuquerque neighborhood. Members of the city’s art board were also recognized for helping roll out 13 public art projects.