Daniels receives maximum sentence for 2018 murder

Daniels receives maximum sentence for 2018 murder

From the Las Vegas Optic

William R. Daniels was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison for the 2018 murder of 46-year-old Roman Latimer Lucero Sr.

“No amount of time will return Mr. Lucero to his family,” district attorney Tom Clayton said. “We appreciate the court’s decision to sentence Daniels to the maximum sentence permitted by law.”

A jury found Daniels, 63, guilty of second-degree murder during a trial this summer.

Daniels shot and killed Lucero in Rociada in October 2018. The two men had been roommates at a ranch bunkhouse where Daniels rented the main level and Lucero rented the upstairs portion.

According to documents filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court in 2018, the two men got into a verbal argument the evening of Oct. 27, 2018, near the ranch along a stretch of Highway 276.

A witness told police the argument led to a physical altercation and that Daniels drew a handgun and shot Lucero. Lucero collapsed to the ground, and Daniels continued to fire shots at him, a witness said.

Daniels fired at Lucero a total of six times with a 9 mm handgun, according to Clayton. Four of those shots hit Lucero, with two hitting him while he was on the ground.

Officers with New Mexico State Police arrived at the rural stretch of highway just after 8 p.m. that evening to find Lucero dead, his body lying next to the driver side of a truck parked on the roadway. Just up the road, a second truck sat empty with two handguns on the hood near the windshield. Daniels then whistled at officers and approached them from the foothills.

Daniels was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree murder. He underwent a series of competency evaluations at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas before being found competent to stand trial in late 2019.

Daniels’ trial began June 28, 2021, and concluded July 2 with the jury deliberating for about 90 minutes before finding Daniels guilty.

Daniels was once a prominent figure within the San Miguel County Republican Party, hosting public events for candidates at the local campaign office on Bridge Street in Las Vegas. Daniels even lived at the campaign office for several months in 2018.

In a November 2018 interview with the Optic, Rey Herrera, chairman of the San Miguel County GOP, said Daniels was asked to move out of the building because they’d received multiple complaints about his behavior from business owners near the plaza.

After being asked to move out of the campaign office, Daniels moved to Rociada where he rented the main level of a bunkhouse on a ranch owned by Herrera.

Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Flora Gallegos sentenced Daniels Monday to 15 years for the murder conviction, plus an additional year for a firearm enhancement.

Daniels is classified as a serious violent offender, which requires that he serve 85 percent of the sentence to be eligible for parole.