Man charged with murder as details emerge in May shooting

Man charged with murder as details emerge in May shooting

From the Las Vegas Optic

A man already in police custody was charged Friday with murder in the May 15 death of 25-year-old Joseph F. Maes.

Nathan E. Pacheco, 24, was arrested May 16 after police pulled over a stolen truck that he was a passenger in, but Pacheco was not charged with Maes death until Friday as police concluded the investigation into the May homicide.

A woman called the Las Vegas Police Department just after 3:30 a.m. May 15 to say Maes had come to her door, bleeding. She drove Maes to the Alta Vista Regional Hospital where it was determined he’d been shot in the chest, according to an arrest affidavit filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court. Despite the efforts of hospital staff, Maes was pronounced dead around 4 a.m.

The woman who’d driven Maes to the hospital was not there when police arrived. LVPD investigators located her at a home in the 500 block of Socorro Street, and investigators determined the shooting had taken place at the home.

Witnesses told police that a group of people had been sitting on an enclosed porch when Maes arrived at the house to pay someone some money he owed them.

One witness said Maes was seated, looking at credit cards he’d taken out of his pocket, when Pacheco punched Maes in the head. Maes stood up to confront Pacheco, and the witness heard “a loud bang,” and saw Pacheco holding a handgun, according to the affidavit.

Pacheco was no longer at the house on Socorro Street when police arrived, and attempts to locate him were unsuccessful.

The next day, May 16, LVPD officers pulled over a Ford F-150 that had been reported stolen. Jessica C’de Baca, 33, of Ribera, was driving; Pacheco was the passenger. According to police, Pacheco seemed to be attempting to hide something.

During a search of the truck, officers located a .22-caliber handgun near where Pacheco was seated.

C’de Baca and Pacheco were arrested on outstanding warrants and booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center.

C’de Baca was released the following day on an unsecured $1,000 bond.

Pacheco was held without bond because he was on probation after pleading guilty in April 2020 to misdemeanor larceny and battery in a December 2019 case. Police attempted to question Pacheco about the gun, but after being advised of his rights, Pacheco refused to talk to officers.

On May 18, the Office of the Medical Investigator determined Maes had died from a gunshot that pierced his heart and other organs. On June 22, police received results of forensic and DNA tests that indicated the gun located in the truck was the gun used to kill Maes.

Police located and interviewed another witness on June 24. That witness said the night Maes was shot, several people were smoking meth in the enclosed porch of the house on Socorro Street when Pacheco punched and kicked Maes, causing him to fall to the ground. When Maes got back to his feet, he charged Pacheco, and Pacheco shot Maes, according to the affidavit.

The witness told police Pacheco began pacing as he mumbled to himself. While still holding the gun, he told them they’d better not “snitch,” according to the affidavit. When they began loading Maes into the woman’s car to transport him to the hospital, the witness said Pacheco ran away.

Pacheco is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. During a Friday hearing, Judge Melanie Rivera set bond for Pacheco at $1 million, cash or surety. He remained in custody at SMCDC as of this writing.

Maes was memorialized May 24 during a rosary and funeral mass at St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church in Mora, according to his obituary. Burial of his remains will take place at a later date.