Suspect in wild police chase hopes to get murder charge dropped

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An Albuquerque man who led police on a wild chase, then crashed into oncoming traffic killing one person, is asking for his murder charge to be dropped.

In a new motion filed, his attorneys are claiming that the charge doesn’t fit the crime.

“Suspect step out with your hands up and empty,” said police in lapel video from June 2017.

It was dramatic police video.

“Stop right there,” yelled police in the lapel video. “Freeze! Police! Don’t move!” 

David Barber led police on a wild chase across town in a stolen RV in June 2017, causing a string of crashes and even almost ramming into a police officer.

It ended when police made a tactical maneuver to stop Barber, but he drove into oncoming traffic, killing Tito Pachecho.

Barber was indicted on a slew of charges, which included felony murder, because the death of Pachecho occurred during the commission of a felony — aggravated fleeing from law enforcement.

In a new motion, Barber’s defense is asking for the murder charge to get tossed out because that same charge was dropped in a similar, but different case.

Elexus Groves was charged with felony murder after she too, was being chased by police in a stolen van in January 2017. Groves ran through a stop sign, crashing into Shaunna Arredondo and her teen daughter, Shaylee Boling. They both died.

“I don’t believe that this case fits first degree felony murder and those two counts should be dismissed,” said Groves’ attorney at a motion to dismiss hearing.

The judge agreed to dismiss that murder charge, claiming a Supreme Court ruling is “murky” to the intent of someone wanting to kill another person during a chase. Now, Barber’s defense is using Groves’ exact motion to dismiss to try and get the same outcome.

KRQE News 13 asked prosecutors why they’re trying for felony murder with Barber after Groves’ charges were dismissed. They said there’s not a lot of case law with this type of murder, but hope the Supreme Court will make the felony murder more clear in the eyes of the law.

Barber’s trial is expected to start in February. Groves’ trial is still pending. Prosecutors in her case are appealing the judge’s decision to throw out the murder charge.

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