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Man sentenced to prison for 2018 shooting

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Jesus Arreola

A Portales man received a nine and a half year prison sentence after pleading no contest to charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, deadly weapon in the 2018 fatal shooting of a local man.

Jesus Arreola, 37, was sentenced at a change of plea hearing Thursday in New Mexico 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, according to electronic court records.

District Judge James Hudson sentenced Arreola to six years in prison on one count of manslaughter, and 18 months on the aggravated assault charge. Each sentence was enhanced by one year in accordance with the habitual offender act.

The sentences will run consecutively — back to back— court documents state. Arreola was also given credit for 638 days of pre-sentence confinement.

Arreola was initially charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Johnny Fleming, 32, of Roswell. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but pleaded no contest Thursday to the two lesser counts as part of a deal with the state.

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Fleming was shot several times in the front yard of his 1100 block of South Kentucky Avenue residence June 27, 2018. After police arrived on the scene, Fleming was transported by medics to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. He later died from his wounds.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court, witnesses told investigators Arreola and Fleming had been friends. They said Arreola was acting “skittish” in the weeks leading up to the shooting, frequently claiming people were following him and out to get him.

Arreola’s girlfriend later told police he was acting very paranoid in the days leading up to the shooting and that he had taken a bunch of Adderall a few days before.

Arreola had been at Fleming’s house shortly before the shooting. According to court documents, a witness said Arreola was talking about people out to get him and about killing himself. Fleming was urging Arreola to calm down and planned to take him back to the motel room where he was staying.

Before they were going to leave, Fleming was attempting to get his dogs who were outside into the residence. Arreola at the time was trying to leave in his white 2014 Toyota Carolla, which was parked inside a fence with a gate closed to keep the dogs from wandering off the property.

Arreola became upset because Fleming was not moving as fast as he had wanted him to. The witness said Fleming eventually slammed the gate and Arreola shouted, before two gunshots rang out. The witness then saw Fleming lying on the lawn bleeding and Arreola driving away, heading south on Kentucky Avenue.

A short time after leaving, Arreola called 911 while parked outside the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office at St. Mary’s Place. The complaint states Arreola informed the dispatcher he was armed and in the parking lot outside the Sheriff’s Office.

Arreola then requested an officer come out. He also threatened to commit suicide or suicide by cop. Following a short period of time, Arreola exited his vehicle and surrendered to deputies.

A black and gray .40 Smith and Wesson caliber pistol and .45 caliber automatic pistol were both later found in the Toyota. The .40 caliber pistol had a partially loaded magazine, with at least the first round marked with a head stamp that matched another casing found where Fleming was shot.

When interviewed by investigators, Arreola said he had been at Fleming’s house that day and Fleming was trying to calm him down. After leaving Fleming’s house, Arreola then tried to leave town, but returned to Fleming’s house when he thought he saw vehicles trying to follow him.

Arreola said when he arrived back at the house, he was still sitting in his car and Fleming was standing outside and acting weird. The complaint states Arreola told police Fleming had a gun in his hand while standing outside the vehicle. He said he was able to grab the gun from Fleming and shot him several times before Fleming could shoot him.

Arreola’s girlfriend later told police she never saw the vehicles he claimed to see, according to the complaint.

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

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to clarify the plea agreement reached in the case.

 

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