Lawyers continue to question competency of homicide suspect

Lawyers continue to question competency of homicide suspect

From the Las Vegas Optic

William “Skip” Smith Jr.

He was more than an average resident. Skip was a part of Las Vegas — an intrinsic fixture seemingly plucked from the pages of a novel about a quaint small town in northern New Mexico. Visitors and locals alike could see him all over town, and he’d usually offer a smile or a friendly word.

But one year ago this month, the Meadow City lost 71-year-old William “Skip” Smith Jr. when his body was found in an alleyway Aug. 16, 2019, by a passerby. Most in town had heard of his death within hours, and by the end of the day, it seemed everyone knew he was gone.

An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Medical Investigator revealed Smith had been stabbed and cut two dozen times, and OMI ruled his death a homicide. Following months of investigation by the Las Vegas Police Department, at the end of February 2020, police publicly named a suspect in the homicide: Isaac Seig Chavez, who is often referred to as Seig Isaac Chavez in court records.

Seig Issac Chavez

Chavez, now 41, was arrested in Albuquerque on Feb. 27 and transported back to Las Vegas to face charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. In May, Chavez was found incompetent to stand trial and was remanded to the care of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute.

Now, a year after Smith’s death, mental health professionals feel Chavez is ready to stand trial for murder, but his attorney disagrees. In a motion filed Thursday, Chavez’s defense attorneys asked the court to delay a competency hearing for 90 days.


Aug. 16
Just before 8 that Friday morning, someone called 911 to report a body in an alleyway north of Washington Street, in between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. Officers and investigators with the Las Vegas Police Department responded to the alleyway to find Smith face down in blood, lying in a shaded area by a small tree. Trails of blood stretched from Smith’s body to the street, and in total, investigators collected swabs of blood from 27 different areas, according to criminal investigation records obtained by the Optic through a public records request.