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Murder suspect to be held without bond

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A man suspected of fatally shooting his roommate will remain detained without bond following a judge’s ruling Thursday.

Daniel Sosa

Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District granted the District Attorney’s motion for the pretrial detention of Daniel Sosa, 20, of Roswell at a hearing in Chaves County District Court. As a result, Sosa will remain in custody pending trial.

Sosa is charged with first degree murder in the Feb. 18 shooting death of Robert Ortega III, 20, at the 300 block of East Church Street residence where the two men lived together.

Court documents state Sosa and his mother, Danny Jo Sosa, 41, then disposed of several guns and three pounds of marijuana. Danny Jo Sosa, who is charged with tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana, has since been released on a $5,000 bond.

Daniel Sosa allegedly told police after he had been taken into custody that he shot Ortega because he was jealous of Ortega, who he said wanted to kill him and was the devil.

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In granting the state’s motion for pre-trial detention of Daniel Sosa, Lilley said based on the evidence presented at the hearing Daniel Sosa represented a danger to the community and no conditions of release could reasonably ensure the safety of the public.

Taylor Jaggers, assistant district attorney for Chaves County, in arguing for the state’s motion for pre-trial detention, said the nature of the crime demonstrated Sosa is unpredictable and had access to multiple firearms.

Mary Legrand Miller, Sosa’s defense attorney, called the case troubling. She admitted she could not think of a set of conditions that could be crafted that would ensure the safety of the public if Sosa was released, but said that does not mean such conditions could not be thought up at a later date.

Gino Basile, detective with the Roswell Police Department, was called to the stand by the state at Thursday’s hearing. He was the only witness called by either the defense or the state.

Basile said that when he arrived at the scene, Daniel and Danny Jo Sosa were at the house and the body of Ortega was lying on a bed.

He said that under questioning Daniel Sosa initially claimed Ortega’s death was a suicide and that he had not shot Ortega. However, as his story evolved, he admitted to shooting Ortega in the back once with a handgun while Ortega was on his bed playing with his phone.

Daniel Sosa though said that after shooting Ortega once in the back, Ortega took a handgun in his left hand and shot himself in the head.

Evidence later suggested Ortega’s gunshot wound to the head was not self-inflicted, Basile said. The bullet to Ortega’s head entered on the upper right side and exited his left temple. Basile said that would have made it impossible for Ortega to have shot himself with a gun using his left hand.

He added the gun Ortega had on him when he was found dead was found lying on the victim’s chest and left arm. Basile said that had Ortega shot himself, the recoil from the gun would have caused the weapon not to fall forward onto Ortega’s chest, but backwards.

Basile said that after interviewing Mary Jo Sosa, she admitted her son had called her after the shooting.

Daniel Sosa later admitted he and his mother took the Glock 30 handgun he allegedly used to shoot Ortega and three other guns in the house and got rid of them.

Danny Jo Sosa later told police she and her son had taken the guns to her cousin’s house in the 900 block of South Grand Avenue, where they allegedly hid the guns in a white pickup truck parked in the front yard.

Police, while executing a search warrant on the residence in the 900 block of Grand Avenue, later found the Glock alleged to have been used in the crime, two other firearms, a shell casing and 3.77 pounds of marijuana in the pickup, Basile said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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