Suspect in 2018 murder found competent to stand trial

Suspect in 2018 murder found competent to stand trial

From the Las Vegas Optic

A trial date has been set for a man charged with murder in a 2018 shooting.

William R. Daniels, now 61, is charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of 46-year-old Roman Latimer Lucero in October of 2018. The three-day trial is scheduled to begin in March of 2020 in District Court in Las Vegas.

Daniels had previously been deemed incompetent to stand trial in July after a doctor who evaluated Daniels provided the court with a report stating: “Mr. Daniels is unable to make independent life choices and decisions and rationally assist in his defense.”

The court ordered mental health treatment with the goal that Daniels would attain competency, and Daniels was remanded to the care of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas.

At a Nov. 18 status hearing before District Court Judge Flora Gallegos, the court ruled that Daniels is now competent to stand trial. On Dec. 4, a criminal scheduling order was issued by the court, scheduling a three-day trial to begin March 10, 2020. It also laid out the rest of the court schedule for upcoming hearings, including a Jan. 13, 2020, pretrial hearing, and a final docket call scheduled for Feb. 10, 2020.

Daniels was once a prominent volunteer with the San Miguel County Republican Party, and he often worked at the GOP campaign headquarters on Bridge Street in Las Vegas. Daniels even lived at the campaign office for several months in 2018.

In a November 2018 interview, GOP officials told the Optic that Daniels was asked to vacate the building after staff received multiple complaints about his behavior from business owners on Bridge Street.

Daniels then moved to Rociada where he rented the main level of a bunkhouse on a ranch where he performed work in exchange for rent. Lucero rented the upstairs of the bunkhouse.

According to documents filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court, around 9 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2018, New Mexico State Police responded to a report of a man on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds in Rociada. Responding officers found Lucero dead in the roadway, and minutes later, Daniels reportedly whistled at officers as he walked down from the mountainside, unarmed. Police later recovered two handguns from the hood of Daniels’ truck.

A witness told police Daniels and Lucero had gotten into a quarrel, which became a physical altercation. According to the witness, Daniels drew a firearm and shot Lucero.

Lucero fell to the ground, and Daniels fired three or four more shots at his head. When Lucero attempted to get off the ground, Daniels shot him again, according to the witness.

The trial for Daniels is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. March 10 before Judge Flora Gallegos.