Farmington man arrested in shooting

Warrant issued for second suspect in Ignacio case

A Southern Ute tribal officer removes jewelry from Elijah Timothy Anglin of Farmington on Tuesday afternoon after he was stopped and arrested on U.S. Highway 550 just north of Bondad Hill. Anglin initially was questioned and released, but on Thursday, he was arrested in connection with Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Joey Benavidez near Ignacio. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

A Southern Ute tribal officer removes jewelry from Elijah Timothy Anglin of Farmington on Tuesday afternoon after he was stopped and arrested on U.S. Highway 550 just north of Bondad Hill. Anglin initially was questioned and released, but on Thursday, he was arrested in connection with Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Joey Benavidez near Ignacio.

District Attorney Todd Risberg called it a “cold-blooded” murder – the result of a drug deal gone bad.

He made the comment Thursday in 6th Judicial District Court during an advisement hearing for Elijah Timothy Anglin, 18, one of two men suspected of killing Joey Benavidez, 39, earlier this week in Ignacio.

The second suspect, who remained at large Thursday, was identified as Tommy Lee Mitchell, 19, of Farmington. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on suspicion of first-degree murder.

The shooting occurred about 4:10 p.m. Tuesday in the Cedar Point subdivision, a couple of miles southwest of Ignacio.

Anglin was arrested Wednesday night after voluntarily reporting to the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office to answer questions about the shooting, said Dan Bender, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

He appeared Thursday in District Court wearing shackles and a jail-issued jumpsuit. He sat in a chair and hung his head during most of the hearing. He made no statements.

He is being held at the La Plata County jail on $1 million bail.

His public defender, Faith Winstead, asked District Judge David Dickinson to lower the bail to $50,000, saying Anglin’s only previous criminal offense is for possession of marijuana.

He turned 18 three weeks ago, she said. His mom works as a radiology technician at a Farmington hospital, she said.

Mitchell, the co-defendant who remains at large, has made threats against Anglin and his family, Winstead said.

Dickinson set bail at $1 million, citing the seriousness of the charges, the potential penalties, and the fact that Anglin lives out of state. He said he may lower bail at a later date.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Anglin faces life in prison. Risberg has not said whether he intends to seek the death penalty.

Authorities first made contact with Anglin on Tuesday night, about 20 minutes after the shooting. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of a blue pickup parked in the 6000 block of U.S. Highway 550, about 17 miles west of the murder scene.

Investigators released him that night after characterizing him as a “witness” to the shooting.

Anglin claimed he picked up a hitchhiker, drove him to Benavidez’s home, went inside and merely witnessed the shooting.

He told authorities the shooter used two handguns. He then drove the shooter away and dropped him off along County Road 318, west of Ignacio.

After releasing him, authorities determined sufficient evidence existed to arrest Anglin on suspicion of first-degree murder.

They declined to discuss details of the shooting or the motive.

An arrest affidavit filed in District Court was not made public Thursday.

Mitchell, who remains at large, is described as black, 5-feet 4-inches tall, 136 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair. He should be considered armed and dangerous, Bender said.

Anyone with information about the shooting or Mitchell’s whereabouts is asked to call Investigator Dan Patterson at 382-7015 or Investigator Jim Hendricks at 382-7018.

shane@durangoherald.com

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