August 18, 2015

APD officer, former detective will face trial over killing of homeless man

Screenshot of Albuquerque Police Department video of the shooting of James Boyd.

Judge Neil Candelaria ruled Tuesday that there is probable cause to go forward in the trial of two Albuquerque Police Department officers, one who has since retired, who shot and killed a homeless man.

Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

Andy Lyman

Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy will face trial on charges of second-degree murder and lesser charges. The two will be the first Albuquerque Police Department officers to be charged for an on-the-job shooting.

Note: This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day.

The naming of a trial date and arraignment will take place at a later date.

The decision by the judge came after six days of high-profile testimony.

Defense attorneys had said that the two officers were following their training and did what a reasonable officer would do in the same situation when James Boyd was fatally shot on March 16, 2014.

Randi McGinn, a special prosecutor named by Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, argued there was probable cause to go to trial. Brandenburg was disqualified from the case because of a perceived conflict of interest.

Brandenburg had said if McGinn did not step forward to take the case, it would have to be dropped.

After the indictment by Brandenburg on the two officers, her office and the Albuquerque Police Department have had a strained relationship. An investigation into alleged bribery by Brandenburg in cases involving her son did not go to trial for lack of evidence.


APD chief Gorden Eden released the following statement:

“As this case is moving though our judicial system, my focus is on continually moving the Albuquerque Police Department forward. We will protect our community, and I greatly appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of those who wear a uniform each and every day. As a witness in this case, it would be improper for me to comment about specifics.”