Trial of man charged in triple homicide to start in Las Cruces on Monday

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Eugene "Gino" Ferri (50) goes to trial Monday for the shooting deaths of three people.

The homicides took place three years ago in Mesilla Hills, near Las Cruces.

Ferri, 50, faces three counts of first degree murder. The trial is expected to last two weeks.  

Investigators allege he shot a local couple and their business partner the night before they were supposed to appear at a court hearing.  

The victims are 69-year-old Gilles Delisle and his 72-year-old wife Helga. Peter Weith, 68, was the third shooting victim.  

The case is being tried by prosecutors from the Otero County District Attorney's office because there was a conflict of interest with the Dona Ana County district attorney.

Former Dona Ana County district attorney Amy Orlando will be a special prosecutor in this trial.

Ferri was arrested on April 8, 2011 in El Paso, Texas and was charged with concealing encumbered property after authorities said they discovered he had $1 million worth of animal trophies in his possession.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials said the weapon that was used in the shooting deaths was a Cobray SW 9 mm semiautomatic gun -- a weapon described by a sheriff's sergeant as being similar to an Uzi. Officials said the the weapon was found in the septic tank at La Llorona Park in Las Cruces, N.M. in the weeks before Ferri's arrest.

Dona Ana County sheriff's deputies found the bodies of Gilles and Helga Delisles, along with Peter Weith, shot to death inside the Delisles' Mesilla Hills home on the morning of April 15, 2010. Sheriff's officials said Gilles was found face down in the kitchen with several gunshot wounds, his wife was found five feet away with a gunshot to the head, and Weith was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a bathroom at the south end of the home.

Sheriff's deputies said the homicides happened on or about April 14, 2010.

Orlando told ABC-7 in 2011 that a cooperating witness met with Ferri the night of April 14, 2010, and dropped Ferri off at the Delisles' home before the witness left the scene.

The cooperating witness, whose identity has not been released, met with Ferri later that night and said Ferri was driving the Delisles' white Pathfinder, according to Orlando. Orlando said Ferri then instructed the witness to follow him and they left the Pathfinder in front of the sheriff's office where it was discovered days later.

Orlando said the witness and Ferri talked later that night and that Ferri told the witness that what he did at the Delisles' home "felt good to him."

Orlando would not discuss a possible motive for the homicides, but Ferri and the three killed did know each other through business dealings.

Court documents from 2008 state Gilles Delisles represented Weith in a bankruptcy case involving Las Cruces resident Carol Ferri. According to case records, Carol's son, Gino, controlled her finances, and owed as much as $1.3 million to Weith for three investment properties.

Days before investigators found the bodies of the Delisles and Weith, a judge agreed to change Carol Ferri's bankruptcy claim from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation, according to documents. It was a request Delisles made on behalf of Weith.

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