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Man sentenced in 2018 shooting

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A man charged in a 2018 shooting where one man was shot in the face has been sentenced to a four-year prison term at the New Mexico Department of Corrections.

Thomas Joseph Della Vecchio Jr. (Submitted Photo)

Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court accepted the recommendation of the District Attorney’s Office to sentence Thomas Joseph Della Vecchio Jr., 44, of Roswell, at an Oct. 27 change of plea hearing in Chaves County.

Della Vecchio received three years in prison to be followed by two years parole on one count of aggravated battery, deadly weapon. That sentence was extended by a year due to the defendant’s status as a habitual offender. He begins his sentence with 721 days of pre-sentence confinement credit.

At the hearing, Della Vecchio pleaded guilty to the aggravated battery charge per a plea and repeat offender disposition agreement. In exchange for his guilty plea on that charge, two other criminal counts — false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, deadly weapon — were dismissed pursuant to the agreement.

A fourth charge of bribery of a witness (threats-false testimony) had been dropped by the prosecution prior to the agreement.

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When he addressed the court while appearing at the hearing by video, Della Vecchio said that since the August 2018 shooting, several things had happened to him to convince him of the need to change his life.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions in this life and I want to move forward in a more positive manner in my life,” he said.

Marie Lagrand Miller, Della Vecchio’s attorney, asked the court to suspend one year of Della Vecchio’s sentence and place him on supervised probation for the remainder of the time.

Lilley though rejected the request saying the circumstances of the case always gave him great concern, especially because of a past conviction on a violent offense.

Della Vecchio, along with David Clements, 32; Jessica Tarleton, 36; and Veronica Perez, 34, was charged in connection with an Aug. 29, 2018 shooting at Tarleton’s 1600 block of South Washington Avenue residence.

According to documents filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court, the victim went to the South Washington Avenue residence where Tarleton lived after she texted him and invited him over.

The victim, court documents state, was sitting in the living room talking to Tarleton when two men — later identified as Clements and Della Vecchio — came up from behind him with guns and one of them shot him in the face.

The victim was subsequently prevented from leaving the house after he was shot and was kept in the bathroom bleeding before he was eventually driven to the hospital by Clements and Tarleton.

En route to the hospital, court documents state, Clements reportedly instructed the victim not to tell anyone about the shooting “or we will come back and finish the job.”

Clements, Tarleton and Perez were arrested the day of the shooting, while Della Vecchio was arrested in October 2018 on an outstanding warrant for his arrest in the case.

Perez in 2018 pleaded guilty to one count each of tampering with evidence and false imprisonment as part of a plea deal. She was sentenced to 36 months in prison, all suspended and to be served on supervised probation.

Clements was sentenced in 2019 to two and a half years in prison, with another four years suspended and to be served on supervised probation, after pleading no contest to one count each of aggravated assault, deadly weapon and bribery of a witness (threats- false testimony) as part of a change of plea agreement.

In exchange for his change of plea on both charges, the prosecution dismissed three other counts: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, one count of false imprisonment and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Tarleton pleaded guilty to one count each of false imprisonment and distribution of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids as part of a change of plea agreement in Mach 2019. As part of the agreement, additional charges of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery were dropped.

Tarleton however has not yet been sentenced.

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

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