ROSWELL, N.M. — Two men face charges in connection with the 1997 death of a man whose body was found in a ditch, in a case that has revolved around trying to locate a man previously charged and believed to be in Mexico.
Tony Gonzales of Roswell was charged Jan. 22 with one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Edward Raymond Sanchez, while Gonzalo David Bonilla of Haltom, Texas, was originally charged Nov. 16 with four felony counts, the Roswell Daily Record reported last week.
All but a first-degree murder charge against Bonilla has been dropped, according to court records.
The actions come after a decision to proceed with charges against the U.S. suspects, Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder said.
The men have been released while they await hearings, Snyder said.
Neither Gonzales nor Bonilla has entered a plea yet, and calls to their defense attorneys were not returned.
Gonzales is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 5 for an arraignment, while Bonilla is scheduled to appear Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Sanchez was killed in September 1997 at age in what Snyder has called “cold-blooded murder.”
His body was found Sept. 20 in a ditch near Bottomless Lakes State Park. His wife had filed a missing persons report Sept. 18 after Sanchez did not return from Gonzales’s house the night before. Sheriff’s deputies found Sanchez with two gunshots to the head, and an autopsy later concluded that the bullets came from different guns.
Court documents indicated that people at the gathering told authorities that they had seen Sanchez leave the house in the company of Gonzales, Bonilla and Hector Dominguez.
Court documents also allege that Gonzales told at least one person that Sanchez had been killed by Hector Dominguez when the four of them got out of a car to urinate.
It took about three years for an arrest warrant to be issued for Dominguez, who was thought to have left the Roswell area shortly after the killing and was believed to be in Mexico, probably in the Chihuahua area, where he was known to have family.
Information from: Roswell Daily Record, http://www.roswell-record.com