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Las Cruces man sentenced for 2022 killing


A Las Cruces man was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a jury conviction in November 2023.

James Theriault, 82, was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder and tampering with evidence. A jury found Theriault shot Fatima Ortiz and fatally shot Carlos Picharo on July 9, 2022.

Police believed that Theriault had a long-standing feud with his neighbors, Ortiz and Picharo, that ended in the fatal shooting on S. San Pedro Street. Part of the shooting was recorded by Ortiz, according to court records.

The Las Cruces Bulletin reached out to Theriault’s attorney for comment but has not yet received one.

Theriault was initially charged with first degree murder and attempted first degree murder. The jury found that prosecutors did not prove that those crimes were committed.

Judge Douglas Driggers presided over the trial and sentenced Theriault to 15 years in prison before suspending five years. Theriault also received an additional four and half years for the attempted murder and tampering charge. Judge Driggers ruled both of those counts would run concurrently with the 15-year murder sentence.

Sentence for killing, Theriault