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Bond set at $20K for suspect in deadly shooting

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A local judge Tuesday rejected a motion from the District Attorney’s Office to hold the suspect in a 2019 deadly shooting without bond pending trial.

Robert Moody (Submitted Photo)

Judge James Hudson of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County denied the motion to keep 52-year-old Robert Moody incarcerated while awaiting trial on one count of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate, and set his bail at $20,000 cash or surety.

Hudson, in announcing his decision not to grant the motion, said the prosecution had not demonstrated through clear and convincing evidence that Moody would be a danger to the community if released while awaiting trial, and that conditions of release could be imposed to reasonably ensure the safety of the public.

“The evidence of potential threat to the community is minimal,” he said.

Hudson added that when Moody is released, his wife will act as a third party custodian to ensure he appears at all required court proceedings, and must notify the court if he violates any of his conditions of release.

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Until the case is resolved, Hudson said, Moody cannot have firearms on his property, cannot leave his house between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless for work-related purposes, and must be outfitted with an ankle monitor. His travel outside of New Mexico will be limited to purposes of work in Texas and Wyoming.

Moody is accused of fatally shooting Bobby Nunez, 42, of Roswell, at Moody’s 600 block of Meadow Brook Drive home in Chaves County on the morning of May 2, 2019.

Nunez, according to court documents, was shot twice in the head with a .38 caliber revolver. Though he was alive when deputies reached the scene, Nunez later died from his wounds at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center.

An arrest warrant was obtained April 7 and Moody subsequently turned himself over to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office that day.

Detective Travis Hardy of the sheriff’s office, the only witness called by the prosecution at Tuesday’s hearing, testified that Moody later told investigators Nunez had come to his property that morning angry, and after a heated argument, opened a gate onto Moody’s property and threatened to kill him.

Hardy said Moody told investigators that he then fired two shots that struck Nunez in the head.

Emily Frye, chief deputy District Attorney for Chaves County and prosecutor in the case, in her arguments expressed concerns about Moody’s access to firearms and work he does outside the state making it uncertain he would show up for necessary court appearances.

“And for all those reasons your honor, the state would argue that there are no assurances that can be put in place to ensure the defendant stays in New Mexico and that the defendant does not possess firearms and that we can keep the community safe from Mr. Moody,” she said.

Gary Mitchell and Michael Gomez, Moody’s defense attorneys, said such concerns were unfounded and stressed Moody’s deep familial and business ties to the community.

“This investigation has gone on for almost two years now and he has not seen fit to run and hide or disappear,” Mitchell said in his closing argument.

Sheriff Mike Herrington testified that Moody and his family have been cooperative and compliant with law enforcement requests related to the investigation over the course of nearly two years.

Herrington said based on what he saw in these encounters, he is not concerned Moody would be a danger to himself or the community if released while awaiting trial.

Witnesses called by the defense spoke highly of Moody and his family. State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, who has known Moody for many years, described the defendant as responsible, trustworthy and hardworking. He added that based on his experiences, he does not view Moody as dangerous and said that Moody would abide by any conditions of release set by the court.

“When dealing with people in business, there’s disagreements and things and I always was impressed with the way that in situations when it could be heated, he always seemed to be the calmer head and would approach things very calmly,” Pirtle said.

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