- Suspect: Larrison Hunch, 45
- Victim: Alvin Adakai, 62
- Date of incident: May 16, 2020
- Charges: Second-degree murder, robbery, tampering with evidence
- Status: Stayed pending competency
- Sentence: n/a
- Investigating Agency: Gallup Police Department
- Main investigator: Andrew Thayer
- Incident Location: Lariat Lodge, 1105 East Highway 66, Gallup
- County: McKinley County
- Judicial District: 11th Judicial District
- Prosecuting agency: 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Division II
- Prosecutor: Cosme Ripol, John Bernitz
- Defense attorney: Todd Farkas
- District judge: Robert Aragon
- Magistrate case number: M-35-FR-2020-00201
- District Case number: D-1113-CR-2020-65
- Detention case: D-113-LR-2020-00005
- Detention judge: Louis DePauli Jr.
Alvin Adakai was found dead in his motel room on May 17, 2020.
Larrison Hunch’s girlfriend, Kerry Norton, told police that Hunch beat Adakai after he fell off of the bed during the night and after they had been drinking. Hunch was arrested on May 20 and denied hurting Adakai, according to court records.
On June 2, 2020, he was bound over to district court on charges of second-degree murder, robbery and tampering with evidence after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing or grand jury presentment on the condition that prosecutors dismiss, with prejudice, a charge of first-degree murder.
District Judge Louis De Pauli Jr. ordered Hunch held without bail on June 4, 2020, after his attorney, Todd Farkas, agreed and said he had nowhere to place him, according to court records.
On March 9, 2021, his case was stayed after his attorney raised the question of competency and on March 29, he was ordered to be sent to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas to be treated until he attains competency.
Det. Andrew Thayer wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant for Hunch that he was called out to the Lariat Lodge in Gallup where Alvin Adakai, 62, of Manuelito, had been found dead, on May 17, 2020.
At 10:28 a.m., when the manager Hitendrakumar Patel went to check the room, Adakai was lying on the floor in between the two beds. After grabbing his arm and receiving no response, he called police, Thayer wrote.
Officer Jared Albert called medics who declared Adakai dead at the scene, he wrote.
Thayer wrote that Adakai had several wounds including scabs, bruises and blood on his farms, face, legs, chest and side and dried blood on his hands and face.
“There was a dark discoloration of his skin from his chest cavity going up towards his neck and a discoloration of his skin the side of his body,” Thayer wrote. “Several dark spots were viewed on his neck.”
Office of the Medical Investigator Field Investigator Harolynn Yazzie told Thayer that Adakai’s death was suspicious but the pathologist who conducted the autopsy would contact him with more information, he wrote.
Thayer spoke to Hunch, who said he met Adakai with Kerry Norton and Adakai offered to rent a room so they could drink together and at some point during the night, Hunch tried to make ramen noodles for him, but he refused, and only drank during the night. Norton, 56, was Hunch’s girlfriend.
Hunch allegedly told Thayer that when the three went to sleep, Adakai took the bed nearest the door and during the night, rolled off the bed and Hunch put him back on the bed and when it happened a second time, Adakai told him he was more comfortable on the floor, Thayer wrote.
At 7 a.m., when they woke up, they went to get food and Adakai was still alive and appeared fine, he wrote.
After being told about the suspicious nature of the death, Thayer went back to talk to Hunch again.
“Larrison started off by apologizing to Affiant stating ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I didn’t mean to,'” Thayer wrote. “When asked about why he was apologizing, Larrison said he didn’t mean to give Adakai alcohol.”
Hunch appeared to be under the influence of alcohol so Thayer stopped questioning him. Thayer went to the dumpster at the motel and found a torn-up shirt in the trash. Hunch said it was his and that “sometimes I get rowdy,” Thayer wrote.
That same day, pathologist Satish Chundru told Thayer Adakai’s death was a homicide and his neck bones were fractured. Thayer went back and retrieved the bloody shirt, along with Det. Tasheena Wilson, and then spoke to Hunch again, who apologized again, for giving Adakai alcohol. Thayer had Hunch blow into a portable alcohol breath test machine, which showed a level of 0.14.
Thayer reviewed the surveillance footage and found four women, renting a nearby room, went to Adakai’s room the night he was last seen alive. All four were drunk and not interviewed, although Vernita Jackson told Thayer she thought he was sleeping and she just kicked his foot. The other three women were Alita Baker, Virginia Boyd and Rose Cadman, Thayer wrote.
While police “transported” Boyd to the Gallup Police Department “for an interview,” she asked Officer Brandon Salazar about her phone, Thayer wrote
“Because yesterday when we were in the room Larrison was almost like confessing to what happened in there that room,” she said, according to Thayer. “It’s all on the phone. Yeah. I recorded him yeah.”
On May 20, 2020, Gonzales interviewed Boyd who said she was in her motel room on May 19 when Norton and Hunch came over to visit and that she recorded Hunch talking about beating Adakai.
Det. Philamina Chischilly listened to the recording and said Hunch admitted to “manhandling” Adakai but Hunch blamed Boyd and Jackson for manhandling him because they helped him get alcohol.
Kerry Norton interview
Thayer wrote he “interviewed” Norton on May 20 and she appeared sober. After reading her Miranda rights to her, she agreed to speak to him and Gonzales. Although she was read her Miranda rights, it is not clear if she was in custody.
He wrote that she said that they were together on May 16 and had been staying in room 19 and checked out at 10 a.m. She got into an argument with Hunch and Patel told Hunch to leave. Hunch went to go panhandle and Kerry saw Adakai, staying in room 15, and he invited her in, and then Hunch when he came back.
“Larrison, Adakai and Kerry were consuming vodka and malted beer,” Thayer wrote. “According to Kerry, Adakai gave Larrison his Visa debit card to purchase more alcohol.”
Hunch went to Albertson’s and bought three bottles of whiskey, which they all started drinking at 3 p.m.
“Kerry insisted no one came to room 15 until approximately 0700 hours on May 17, 2020,” Thayer wrote. “Kerry fell asleep while drinking Black Velvet. However, during the middle of the night, Kerry said she heard a loud noise.”
She saw Adakai was on the floor and Hunch picked him up and put him back on the bed. When this happened a second time, Hunch became “very angry.”
Thayer wrote that Norton said:
“Larrison began punching Adakai. Initially, Kerry minimized the violence and said Larrison hit Adakai about three times. As the interview progressed, Kerry admitted that she was very afraid of Larrison. Indeed, Kerry had a history of being a victim of multiple domestic violence crimes, including violence so severe that she was medivaced from Gallup to Flagstaff because of the severity of the injuries inflicted upon her by Larrison. On November 24, 2019, October 13, 2019, July 24, 2019, April 1, 2019, February 16, 2019, January 6, 2019, November 18, 2018 and August 17, 2018, the Gallup police department caused the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney’s office to file a variety of felony and domestic violence charges against Larrison Hunch. Kerry Norton refused to cooperate with law enforcement concerning these charges. Kerry Norton described many of the facts concerning these felony and domestic violence crimes and then, after being shown photographs taken by Affiant of Alvin Adakai’s deceased body, admitted that Larrison hit Alvin Adakai at least seven times over the course of ten minutes.”
Gonzales and Thayer then “confronted” Norton with the recording of Hunch saying he “manhandled” Adakai. Norton responded that Hunch began hitting Adakai after he fell off the bed the second time and that she did nothing to stop him because she is scared of him. She said Hunch took money from Adakai’s pants pocket after beating him and before they left and buried his debit card, Thayer wrote.
Larrison Hunch interrogation
On May 20, Thayer and Gonzales interrogated Hunch after he signed a Miranda rights waiver, Thayer wrote.
Hunch said Adakai appeared to be suffering from the coronavirus, he appeared weak and he probably died from it, Thayer wrote. Adakai did not look like anything happened to him when they left his motel room in the morning. He denied saying he “manhandled” Adakai.
Thayer and Gonzales left to retrieve the recording and when they came back, Hunch said he wanted a lawyer.
Detectives charged Hunch with an open count of murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.
Held without bail
Prosecutors filed a motion to hold Hunch without bail after he was arrested. District Judge Louis De Pauli Jr. ordered Hunch held without bail on June 4, 2020, after his attorney, Todd Farkas, agreed and said he had nowhere to place him, according to court records.
On June 2, 2020, Hunch was bound over to district court on charges of second-degree murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.
Hunch waived his right to a preliminary hearing or the presentation of the case to a grand jury on the condition that prosecutors dismiss, with prejudice, the charge of first-degree murder.
District Judge Robert Aragon arraigned him on June 16, 2020 and he pleaded not guilty.
Since then, there has been one motion to continue a trial setting that had been set for Oct. 2, 2020.
In the audio logs from a hearing on the motion to continue, on Oct. 5, 2020, Farkas said he has multiple homicide cases going to trial. Prosecutor John Bernitz said they will be able to work out a plea deal and will notify the judge when its ready.
No new court dates have been set.
Case stayed for competency
Hunch’s case was ordered stayed on March 9, 2021, after Farkas raised the question of his competency on March 1.
Farkas said during a hearing on March 5, 2021, that a neuropsychologist told him she did not believe Hunch, 45, was competent to stand trial, according to audio logs.
During a subsequent hearing on March 29, 2021, prosecutor John Bernitz asked the judge to send Hunch to the mental hospital in Las Vegas for a second evaluation and Farkas said they already reached an agreement on the evaluation, according to the audio logs.
According to the docket, Hunch was sent to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas to “attain competency to stand trial.”
No new court dates have been set.
According to his obituary, Alvin Adakai was the father to twin girls and he fluently spoke Navajo.
Born the son of Fred and Lenita Adakai of Manuelito, he was the 11th of 13 children. He was raised in Manuelito and attended the Indian boarding school in Theoreau until he went to Gallup High School, where he ran track and field and played football, according to his obituary.
He went to the Haskell Indian Nations University, where he obtained an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 1986.
“He returned to Manuelito and worked as a Chapter Manager from 1988 to 1994,” according to his obituary. “He believed in obtaining an education and instilled this importance in his girls. Alvin is survived by his twin daughters Elvina Lynn Adakai and Delvina Dee Adakai both of Albuquerque, NM and three grandchildren.”
View the court documents on Document Cloud.
Competency raised for Larrison Hunch, charged for 2020 Gallup motel beating death