LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces man has been found guilty of murdering his neighbor in a deadly shooting that took place last year. James Theriault was convicted on November 16 of second-degree murder, attempted to commit a felony, and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Dona Ana County Court, Carlos Pichardo died at Mountain View Hospital after he was shot in the abdomen outside of his home on the 900 block of South San Pedro Street. Theriault’s neighbor, Fatima Ortiz, was also shot six times and taken to the hospital for treatment.
The shooting took place following a verbal altercation between Pichardo, Ortiz, Theriault, his son, and his son’s girlfriend Erica Pena. Ortiz told authorities that she began recording Theriault because of previous issues they had had with him. According to the criminal complaint, Theriault then pulled out a gun and began firing, injuring both Ortiz and Pichardo.
Theriault’s son, Cody Theriault, is accused of helping his father get rid of the gun that was used in the shooting. James Theriault, in his statement to the detective, claimed that he shot in self-defense after feeling threatened by his neighbors.
A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled for Theriault, who has a history of problems with the victim and his wife. The defendant admitted to shooting at Pichardo and injuring Ortiz, but the case remains under investigation by the Las Cruces Police Department.