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Man Pleads Guilty To 2016 Las Cruces Area Murder

Mar 12, 2018

LAS CRUCES – Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio on Monday announced that Sergio Meraz-Nevarez, 40, of Berino, has pleaded guilty to the 2016 murder of Jose Alfredo Armendariz, his former employer. He was sentenced to 21 and a half years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Timothy Nuccio prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.

On October 18, 2016, Armendariz fired Meraz-Nevarez, who had been working on the ranch where Armendariz was the foreman. The following afternoon, as Armendariz and another employee repaired an irrigation pump, Meraz-Nevarez pulled up and fired two shots from a .40-caliber handgun through his passenger window. Both rounds struck Armendariz. He was transported to a Las Cruces hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meraz-Nevarez fled the scene, but his vehicle was later spotted in a nearby cotton field off Highway 478. Officers, including a K9 officer, searched the field and found Meraz-Nevarez, where he was taken into custody. The handgun was found nearby, and two spent .40-caliber bullet casings were recovered from inside his car.

Meraz-Nevarez pleaded guilty on Monday morning to one count of second-degree murder, one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.  District Judge Douglas R. Driggers sentenced Meraz-Nevarez to 21 and a half years in prison. 

“We’re pleased that this defendant decided to enter a guilty plea instead of putting Mr. Armendariz’s family through the agony of a trial,” D’Antonio said. “While a lengthy prison sentence cannot restore the life of Mr. Armendariz — and will not return this husband and father to his loving family — I do hope that seeing justice done will bring them some comfort.”

Detective Chase Thouvenell from Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department served as the case agent.

Because Meraz-Nevarez is not a U.S. citizen, he will almost certainly be deported to Mexico, his home country, after completing his prison sentence.

Information from Third Judicial District Attorney's Office