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New Mexico man convicted in doctor’s death

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) – A jury on Monday convicted a 20-year-old New Mexico man of second-degree murder for beating a Farmington doctor to death with a pool cue and hiding his body in a wood pile.

Jurors returned the verdict against John Mayes after deliberating a total of 10 hours since Friday, the Farmington Daily Times reported (
http://bit.ly/1iLAkk3).

The jury opted not to convict Mayes of first-degree murder for the June 9, 2011, killing of Dr. James Nordstrom. First-degree murder was the more serious charge and would have earned Mayes an automatic life sentence.

The second-degree murder conviction, along with five other lesser charges Mayes was convicted of Friday, mean he’ll receive a maximum prison sentence of 31 1/2 years.

His sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled.

On Friday, the jury convicted Mayes of aggravated burglary, evidence tampering and other charges.

Mayes, the adopted son of Farmington city manager Rob Mayes, has been on trial in Gallup since Nov. 13.

Prosecutors said Mayes broke into Nordstrom’s home during a burglary. When Mayes saw Nordstrom was watching television, he armed himself with a pool cue and waited in the bedroom, where he attacked the doctor and bludgeoned him to death, prosecutors said.

After killing Nordstrom, Mayes buried the doctor underneath a wood pile near his home in the Farmington Foothills neighborhood, prosecutors says. He took the doctor’s truck and wallet and charged more than $3,000 to his credit cards, investigators.

But Mayes’ defense contends that Nordstrom invited Mayes into his home and that Mayes was defending himself from an unwanted sexual advance by Nordstrom.

They also had his counselor and a forensic psychiatrist testify that Mayes suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD, because of severe neglect and possible abuse he suffered as a young boy in the Ukraine before he was adopted.

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