November 28, 2016

Murder charge against one ex-APD officer dropped

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

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn on Monday dismissed the second-degree murder charge against former Albuquerque police officer Dominique Perez, who was accused of fatally shooting homeless camper James Boyd in March 2014.

McGinn filed a one-page motion in state District Court in Albuquerque to dismiss the case “without prejudice,” which means that incoming District Attorney Raul Torrez could refile the charge if he chooses to after he takes office on Jan. 1.

McGinn said she couldn’t comment on why she dismissed the charge against Perez, but she did add that the second-degree murder charge against former officer Keith Sandy remained in place and that Torrez will have to decide on whether to retry Sandy.

McGinn said she spoke last week with Perez’s attorney, Luis Robles, about her intent to dismiss the charge against his client. Robles wasn’t immediately available for comment.

McGinn tried Sandy and Perez in October on the second-degree murder charges, saying they shot Boyd as he was trying to surrender to police after an hours-long standoff in the Sandia Mountain foothills. The jury deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal, and at the time McGinn said it would be up to Torrez to decide whether to retry the two.

McGinn, a private civil rights attorney, was appointed to the case last year after Bernalillo Conty District Attorney Kari Brandenburg’s office was disqualified from the case because of an appearance of a conflict of interest with APD.

Earlier this month, McGinn offered to dismiss the murder charges against Perez and Sandy if Sandy pleaded guilty to a charge conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Sandy didn’t accept the deal.

Perez was fired from APD after he was charged and he is challenging that dismissal.

Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press. Reach him at