Paiz found guilty of murder in retrial

POSTED: 12:08 PM MDT Oct 29, 2012    UPDATED: 12:43 PM MST Mar 07, 2014 
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

A Las Cruces jury has found Victor Paiz guilty of all charges, including first degree murder and felony murder.

He also was convicted of two 2 counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, guilty of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

They were the same verdicts as in the first trial.

Paiz seems dazed by the verdict on Monday.

Jury deliberations began late Friday afternoon in the retrial for Paiz. After deliberating for nearly three hours, jurors were sent home by the judge. Deliberations will continued Monday morning.

Paiz was convicted in 2008 of murdering Jesus "Jesse" Bustillos.

That conviction was overturned by the New Mexico Supreme Court after Paiz appealed the verdict. The Supreme Court ruled the state state lumped a drug trafficking charge with this case. The court said there was no logical relationship between the two.

In 2008, a jury found Paiz guilty on eight charges, including first-degree murder.

Prosecutors accused Paiz of shooting Bustillos four times with a .357 magnum in August of 2006.

Witnesses said Bustillos was driving his friend's car that night searching for Paiz.

Prosecutors said Bustillos and his friends were angry with Paiz and looking for a fight because of an earlier incident that damaged a car.

Prosecutors accused Paiz and his friends of blocking Bustillos' car with a van. Then they said Paiz got out and shot at the car, killing Bustillos and injuring two others.

The defense said the evidence is not there.

"No one. Not one of all the witnesses that testified, nobody took that stand and said and was asked who shot Jesse Bustillos," said defense attorney Louis Lopez.

"This is a case of misidentification. This poor kid is dead because this defendant and his buddies thought the driver was (someone else). Unfortunately Jesse Bustillos was in that car," prosecutor Scot Key told the jury in closing arguments.

Key said Paiz showed guilt after the murder. He said Paiz made statements to his girlfriend at the time saying, "Poor kid. It wasn't supposed to happen to him."

Key also said Paiz told one of the others who was in the van to tell him what he told police so Paiz could get his story straight.

Lopez said the state's evidence is skewed and does not prove Paiz shot Bustillos.

Victor Paiz's wife, Krystal, told ABC-7 Victor was hanging out with the wrong people that night.

"No, he's not the person. His hands did not shed the blood of Jesse Bustillos. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was not supposed to have been in such a situation," Krystal Paiz said.

(Oct. 2012 story)