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Las Cruces man convicted in 2020 killing


A jury convicted a Las Cruces man last week, nearly four years after a shooting took the life of an 18-year-old.

Jeremiah Peña-Nieto, 21, was convicted of two tampering with evidence counts and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence. The jury declined to convict Peña-Nieto of first-degree murder but did find he committed second-degree murder.

Police said that Peña-Nieto killed 18-year-old Jacob Daniel Becerra on Aug. 6, 2020. Peña-Nieto was 17 years old at the time.

According to court records, police discovered Becerra in a 2018 Kia Forte crashed against a light pole on E. Farney Lane near W. Park Drive. Further examination revealed Becerra had been shot.

After being held in jail for two years, Peña-Nieto was able to go to trial in May 2022. That trial ended in a mistrial after questions arose when prosecutors were unable to produce a toxicology report. At the time, the district attorney’s office said they never received the report from the Las Cruces Police Department.  

The trial was declared a mistrial, and Peña-Nieto was allowed to leave jail on a $20,000 bond.

Two years later, a jury found Peña-Nieto guilty of the shooting. Jail records show he’s currently in the Doña Ana County Detention Center. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The Bulletin reached out Peña-Nieto’s attorney, Jeffrey Lahann, for comment on the trial and is awaiting a response.

murder, guilty, Jacob Daniel Becerra