Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Seven year old matricide case could soon be settled

LAS CRUCES – A seven-year-old murder case came before a judge Monday as both parties signaled that a resolution to the case may be near.

Joshua Hunt was arrested and charged with killing his mother, 56-year-old Lisa Cano, in 2014. Court records show Hunt, now 43, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him after admitting he killed his mother with a sword and was questioned by police.

That didn’t stop a jury from finding Hunt not guilty of first degree murder during a trial in March 2021. The jury was bogged down on whether Hunt was guilty of the second degree murder and forced Third Judge Conrad Perea to declare a wrongful trial.

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“I don’t want to continue,” Judge Perea said Monday morning during a call to lawyers.

Hunt is scheduled for a second trial on January 3, 2022 to determine whether he is guilty of second degree murder. Both prosecutors and Hunt’s defense lawyers said they were not against further sequel, but neither party requested one.

Instead, Hunt’s attorney, Gary Mitchell, indicated to the court that a plea deal was imminent and could be ready before the trial date. He said the facts of the case and the presence of a new prosecutor on the case presented a good chance of reaching an agreement with a plea.

Linzui Vergara, Assistant Prosecutor at the 3rd Judicial Prosecutor’s Office, is now lead prosecutor in the case, according to the court records.

A sworn affidavit shows that police believe Hunt killed his mother at her home on Block 5800 on Organ Peak Drive on July 18, 2014. Police said Hunt admitted to murder during an interview. Other family members told police that Hunt had behavior problems prior to the incident.

In the first trial, Mitchell said Hunt had been treated for a mental illness for a long time before the murder. He described his client as a victim of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.

Hunt was found fit to stand trial and has been in jail since his arrest.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ Just516garc.

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