The trial of a man suspected in the shooting deaths of his wife and four daughters, initially slated to start next week, has been postponed until July.
At a pretrial conference Wednesday, Judge Dustin K. Hunter of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District ordered a continuance in the trial of Juan David Villegas-Hernandez, 38, according to Carolyn Glover, public information officer for the New Mexico 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which will be prosecuting the case.
Hunter in November scheduled the start of a nine-day trial for Feb. 19. Glover said the trial has been rescheduled for July 7-17. She did not have any information as to why the continuance was granted.
Calls to Villegas-Hernandez’s attorney, Herman Ortiz, about the continuance were not returned before press time Thursday.
Villegas-Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting to death his wife Cynthia Villegas, 34, and their four daughters: Yamilen, 14; Cynthia Janeth, 11; Abby, 7; and Ida, 3, on June 11, 2016 in their 2300 block of North Davis Avenue home. He was found and arrested June 12, 2016 in Mexico and extradited back to New Mexico the following March.
Villegas-Hernandez is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate; one count of intentional abuse of a child, age 12-18, resulting in death; and three counts of intentional abuse of a child under 12, resulting in death. He has pleaded not guilty to all criminal counts.
New Mexico’s 12th Judicial District, which consists of Lincoln and Otero counties, will prosecute the case because of a possible conflict of interest between the Chaves County District Attorney’s Office and a potential witness.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.