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DA’s Office seeks no-contact order in fatal shooting case

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Alberto Ceballos

The District Attorney’s Office in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District has filed a motion requesting the court issue a no-contact order after a man accused of fatally shooting his brother allegedly sought to influence testimony offered by a relative.

A motion was filed Monday for a no-contact order prohibiting Alberto Ceballos, 34, of Roswell, from contacting witnesses in the case until after his trial on one count of first-degree murder, according to court documents. The motion is scheduled to be heard Aug. 10 in District Court.

According to the motion, Ceballos allegedly tried to influence the testimony of a relative, who is a child, during testimony at a July 6 pre-trial detention hearing.

“While the child was testifying, the defendant was admonished no less than three times for nodding and shaking his head in an attempt to influence the child’s testimony,” court documents state.

Martin Juarez, who is listed in court records as Ceballos’ attorney, did not respond before press time Thursday to requests for comment about the motion.

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No-contact orders — which prohibit a defendant in a criminal case from directly or indirectly contacting potential witnesses until after a trial is over — are usually entered into by the court as part of a suspect’s conditions of release, when they are let out of prison either on bond or their own recognizance.

However, according to court documents, since the court granted the state’s motion to hold Ceballos in custody pending trial, no such order was issued.

Ceballos Monday also entered a plea of not guilty to one count each of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate and felon in possession of a firearm, according to court documents. A jury trial in the case is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1.

The charges stem from the June 24 early morning shooting death of his brother Omar Ceballos, 40, at a 200 block of Atkinson Avenue residence.

The victim was shot five times: once on the outer region of his left arm, and another four times between his waistline and chest.

The mother of both the victim and suspect contacted police at about 2 a.m. Omar Ceballos was pronounced dead on the scene soon after medics arrived.

Several relatives of Alberto and Omar Ceballos were at the house when the shooting happened. One relative claimed to have seen Alberto Ceballos run out the door of the house with a gun in his hand after several shots were fired.

Alberto Ceballos was described by relatives, according to court documents, as paranoid.

One individual who spoke with Alberto Ceballos a day before the shooting later recounted that “he did not seem to be in his right mind,” with Alberto Ceballos saying he was going to take care of people who were hurting his mother, court documents state.

Soon after the shooting, police sought Alberto Ceballos for questioning about the shooting before a warrant was later issued for his arrest.

Alberto Ceballos was found and arrested on the evening of June 29 during a traffic stop in the 1500 block of Old Dexter Highway.

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