Bobby Smith: Michael Evans — 1-29-2012

Suspect: Bobby Smith

Victim: Michael Evans

Charges: First-degree murder, shooting at or from a vehicle causing great bodily harm or death, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property: a firearm

Status: No contest plea to second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and receiving a stolen firearm

Sentence: 13 years

Date of incident: Jan. 29, 2012

Agency: Artesia Police Department

Location: 105 South 4th, Artesia

County: Eddy

Magistrate case number: M-18-FR-2015-00068

District case number: D-503-CR-2015-00445

District court: Fifth Judicial District

 

Summary

On Jan. 29, 2012, Bobby Smith, 24, of Artesia, allegedly walked up to security guard Michael Evans, 24, of Artesia, after he failed to sneak up on him, and shot him in the left side of the head with a revolver armed with shotgun shells.

Bobby Smith

Smith’s neighbors reported hearing shooting earlier in the evening and described Smith as wearing the same clothing that the assailant was, based on surveillance footage.

On Jan. 30, 2012, Smith was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

On June 15, 2015, Artesia Police Department Detective David Rodriguez arrested Smith on a warrant charging an open count of murder.

Prosecutors filed a criminal information charging Smith with first-degree murder, shooting at or from a motor vehicle causing death, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property on Oct. 27, 2015.

On Oct. 12, 2016, Smith’s attorney, Gary Mitchell, filed a notice of incompetency for Smith, based on a report by Dr. Eric Westfried. On April 3, 2018, he was found competent to stand trial, and again on Nov. 14, 2018.

On April 2, 2019, prosecutors filed an amended complaint charging him with second-degree murder, in addition to the other charges.

On May 6, 2019, he pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and receiving a stolen firearm. Fifth Judicial District Judge Jane Shuler Gray accepted his plea and sentenced him to 13 years in prison.

He received pre-confinement credit of 2,653 days (7 years).

The incident

Security guard Michael Evans, 24, was patrolling, Jan. 29, 2015, around 105 South 4th Street in Artesia when he noticed someone was trying to sneak up on him.

Sculpture in Artesia, NM. Photo by Justin Miller/Flickr. CC BY-NC

A little before 10:46 p.m., he called 911 and said the man tried to get him while he was parked by the Derrick Statute, Artesia Police Department Detective David Rodriguez wrote in a statement of probable cause for Bobby Smith’s arrest, filed June 15, 2015.

“Evans stated he lost sight with the male subject but then stated the subject was heading towards him,” Rodriguez wrote. “While talking with dispatch, the telephone conversation was terminated.

Sgt. Christopher Boor told Rodriguez that when he got into the area, he saw Evans’ work truck had crashed into a building in the alley between 4th and 5th streets.

“Sgt. Boor reported he approached the truck and observed a male subject inside the truck in the driver’s seat with an apparent gun-shot wound to the head,” Rodriguez wrote. “Sgt. Boor notified dispatch and requested EMS.”

Detective Tim Argo told Rodriguez he viewed the security cameras from the Yates Petroleum Building and saw Evans’ truck drive east down the alley while a person wearing blue jeans, a green sweater and a blue bandanna over his face walked toward the truck.

Rodriguez did not specify how Argo was able to determine colors from footage taken outside at night.

“The subject raised their left hand towards the Dodge pickup and walked up to the driver’s side window while at the same time pulling an item that appears to be a chrome or nickel in color handgun from the right front of the subject’s pants and point the handgun at Michael Evans,” he wrote. “The subject then ran west bound down the alley out of the camera’s view.”

Evans’ truck then, as seen in surveillance footage, crashed into a post. Officers arrived two minutes later and found Evans, shot in the left side of the head and his left arm.

“The gunshot wound on his left arm entered and exited,” Rodriguez wrote. “In the wound was a clear plastic object that appeared to be wadding from a .410 caliber shotgun shell.”

Earlier in the day, Officer Gracie Gonzales was dispatched to 9th and Texas streets because someone reported shots had been fired. She told Rodriguez that she walked to multiple tenants in the area, Rodriguez wrote.

“Melissa and Alice Duncan told Officer Gonzales after they heard 4 or 5 shots and they came out of their apartment to see what was going on, and they saw tenant Bobby Smith walking back into his house hunched over as if he was trying to conceal something,” Rodriguez wrote. “Melissa Duncan told Officer Gonzales Bobby Smith left his residence on January 29, 2012 between 2200 (10 p.m.) and 2230 (10:30 p.m.).”

Karla Parada told Gonzales that she also heard five or six shots. She immediately dropped to the ground.

Later in the night, Parada allegedly saw Smith allegedly walking away from his apartment between 9 and 9:36 p.m. He was wearing a green sweater with a design on the front and a black bandanna on his head, the alleged description of the assailant from the surveillance footage.

She saw him standing by her truck, looking inside, before he walked down Texas Street.

Marcos Herrera said Smith asked him for a cigarette earlier in the evening and they smoked together.

“(While they were smoking, Smith told Herrera if he needed anyone taken care of, he would shoot them. Herrera then ended the conversation,” he wrote.

On Jan. 30, 2015, Smith was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

On Jan. 31, detectives and officers executed a search warrant on Smith’s apartment in the 900 block of West Texas Street. In the apartment, they allegedly found clothing that matched the suspect’s clothing.

To get into the house, they had to break the back door open because the manager did not have a key. Smith had been arrested the previous day on a warrant.

In the apartment, they found .45 caliber casings and live .410 shotgun shells and a chrome Taurus Judge revolver in the ceiling of the bedroom.

“The a nickel or chrome colored Taurus Judge revolver with black grips that is capable of using .45 Long Colt bullets and .410 shotgun shells,” Rodriguez wrote. “A copy of the lease agreement was obtained and it stated Bobby Smith was the tenant of the apartment.”

The pathologist, who conducted the autopsy on Evans, confirmed that it was a .410 shotgun shell that killed him.

That gun had been reported as stolen on Sept. 19, 2011, from a truck parked in the 700 block of West Quay in Artesia. The truck owner told police someone broke the front windshield of his 2011 Ford with a big rock and stole the Taurus revolver, capable of shooting .45 bullets or .410 shotgun shells.

When police checked serial numbers, they found the gun found in the ceiling allegedly matched the serial number of the one that had been stolen.

A past address for Smith showed he lived in the 600 block of West Quay, a block away from the theft.

On June 15, 2015, Rodriguez arrested Smith on a warrant charging an open count of murder. Below is the statement of probable cause for his arrest.

 

Competency in question

On Oct. 27, 2015, prosecutors filed criminal information charging Smith with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Shooting at or from a vehicle causing great bodily harm or death
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Receiving stolen property: a firearm

The information was filed after Smith’s lawyer waived a preliminary hearing.

Bobby Smith

On April 19, 2015, Smith was present for a competency hearing, according to an order for continued care and treatment.

District Judge Jane Shuler-Gray found Smith, in a Jan. 4, 2016 order, competent to proceed in the criminal case, but found that Smith needed continued care and treatment at the New Mexico Behavior Health Institute, which agreed to provide him care

On Oct. 12, 2016, Smith’s lawyer, Gary Mitchell, filed a notice of incompetency, based on consultation with Dr. Eric Westfried, who twice examined Smith.

Smith is incompetent to stand trial because he could not cooperate with or assist his attorney, Mitchell wrote.

“Dr. Westfried reports his absence of cooperation was similar to that experienced in 2012, being the product of a severe mental disorder,” Mitchell wrote. “During 2012, Dr. Westfried had suspected a psychosis that would have been part of a schizophrenia disorder, and his being observed at the state hospital forensic division confirmed that suspicion.”

In 2012, Smith was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. That case was dismissed due to Smith being incompetent, according to the online docket.

Smith, as of Mitchell’s Oct. 12, 2016 motion, was no longer on his medication.

“Records from the state hospital indicate that when he was not taking antipsychotic medication, he was not capable of proceeding on his charges,” Mitchell wrote. “Once he was stabilized on the psychotropic medication, it was then the opinion of the state hospital examiner that he was capable of proceeding. In Dr. Westfried’s opinion, his refusal to take medication at the present time has resulted in recurring signs and symptoms of psychosis. Consequently, he is not capable of rationally assisting in his defense.”

Smith had previously been sent to the New Mexico Corrections Department in March 2017 after the Eddy County Detention Center found they were not capable of safely housing him.

On Oct. 12, 2016, Smith’s attorney, Gary Mitchell, filed a notice of incompetency for smith, based on a report by Westfried. On April 3, 2018, he was found competent to stand trial, and again on Nov. 14, 2018.

 

No-contest plea

On April 2, 2019, prosecutors filed an amended complaint charging him with second-degree murder, in addition to the other charges.

On May 6, 2019, he pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and receiving a stolen firearm. The plea states the prosecution would argue for a sentence of seven to 13 years, although it is not clear if that was binding on the judge. Shuler-Gray accepted his plea and sentenced him to 13 years in prison.

He received pre-confinement credit of 2,653 days (7 years).

 

See the case documents on Google Drive or Document Cloud