Suspect in murder of ‘Skip’ to remain jailed until trial

Suspect in murder of ‘Skip’ to remain jailed until trial

From the Las Vegas Optic

The man charged in the stabbing death of 71-year-old William “Skip” Smith Jr. in the summer of 2019 will remain in jail until the case goes to trial, according to Fourth Judicial District Attorney Tom Clayton.

Seig Isaac Chavez, 41, was arraigned in District Court on Monday, clearing the way for a trial to begin Sept. 4. Chavez faces one count of first-degree murder and one count of felony tampering with evidence. He is currently in custody at the San Miguel County Detention Center.

Chavez was arrested in Albuquerque on Feb. 24, 2020, three days after the charges were filed against him. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office made the initial arrest, and according to Clayton, Chavez was armed with a firearm at the time of his arrest.

Following his arrest, Chavez was remanded to the custody of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute. Initially found incompetent to stand trial, the court ordered treatment at NMBHI to attain competency. In November 2020, a doctor treating Chavez deemed him competent to stand trial, and prosecutors filed a motion to have Chavez held without bond.

Clayton told the Optic that Chavez is also being held by the U.S. Attorney’s office due to the possession of a firearm during his arrest. Although Clayton could not speak on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s office, he said he believed the federal hold was added because of mental health issues Chavez has faced in the past.

Citing a Department of Justice policy, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he could not confirm the existence of any investigation into Chavez, and that he could not comment on any ongoing investigations.