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Man convicted of second-degree murder in 2019 shooting

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A man charged in the shooting death of his girlfriend has been found guilty of second-degree murder.

Following a three-day trial in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, and two and a half hours of deliberation, jurors Thursday evening found 36-year-old Jesus Robles of Roswell guilty on one count of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Griselda Rascon, 33.

Electronic court documents state Robles will be sentenced May 13 in District Court, where under New Mexico law, he could receive up to 15 years in prison.

A trial date will also be set that same day for Robles on a separate count of receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the case.

Robles was initially charged with one count of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate, in the Oct. 4, 2019 shooting death of Rascon at her 400 block of Deborah Drive home.

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Dianna Luce, district attorney for the 5th Judicial District and prosecutor in the case, said jurors were also given the option of finding Robles guilty of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter in their jury instructions.

In all, seven witnesses testified at the trial, which began Tuesday and also included photographs, video clips and audio of the 911 call made by Rascon’s 9-year-old daughter the night of the shooting in which she identified Robles as the shooter.

“This conviction is justice for the family of Griselda Rascon,” Luce said. She added that the more than two hours of testimony by Rascon’s now 10-year-old daughter, who was the only other person in the house besides Robles and Rascon at the time of the shooting, was especially important.

Freeman Faust, Robles’ attorney, said Friday that while he and Robles are relieved the jury did not convict him of first-degree murder — which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison — they are nonetheless disappointed in the verdict.

“We do not believe it was second-degree murder, but we understand the jury’s decision and thank them for their time,” he said.

Faust added that while he and Robles have begun discussing whether to appeal the verdict, they have not decided whether or not to do so.

The daughter testified at the trial that on the night of the shooting, Robles came to the house sometime between 4 and 6 p.m. She said that soon after his arrival, she could hear her mother and Robles arguing, and it soon became violent.

Robles, she said, had grabbed her mother by the neck, pinned her down and held a gun to her head.

In her testimony, she said at one point while Robles had locked himself in the bathroom, she and her mother fled the house and attempted to leave in Robles’ car, which was parked out front. However, Robles came out and dragged Rascon back into the house.

The daughter testified that at the urging of her mother, she ran out of the house to get Robles’ cousin, who lived across the street.

She added that when she and Robles’ cousin entered the house, they saw Rascon shot in the head but still alive. She said that Robles walked past her and pushed her down before he left the house.

Rascon was later transported to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center where she died from her wound. An arrest warrant was subsequently obtained for Robles and he was arrested days later in Las Cruces.

Luce said Friday that in her closing argument, she asked the jury to convict Robles of first-degree murder. The shooting, she said, was not accidental and Robles had ample time to consider the consequences of killing or not killing Rascon.

Luce noted Robles and Rascon argued for at least two hours and that he had prevented Rascon from leaving while he physically assaulted her.

Faust said Friday that while the facts and circumstances of the case could support a conviction for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, the state did not meet the burden of proof to warrant a conviction for first- or second-degree murder.

He said that based on Robles’ behavior, the crime was not premeditated or done with the intent to kill Rascon.

Faust noted when Robles went into the house, he had left his car outside idling for hours and left an ID and many of his possessions in the house after the shooting. Those actions, Faust argued, are not those that would be taken by someone planning to commit murder.

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

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