Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

Update: Father of Kirtland man arrested in murder faces tampering charge

Gary Richard Durham (San Juan County Adult Detention Center)
Gary Richard Durham faces two counts of tampering with evidence in the death of housemate

New Mexico State Police released further information on the arrest of Gary Lee Durham of Kirtland and his father, Gary Richard Durham, who lived together.

Gary Lee Durham, 59, has been charged with murder, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to tamper with evidence and felon in possession of a firearm.

Gary Richard Durham, 81, faces charges of tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.

The news release on April 13 stated that agents saw fresh paint in areas where they discovered presumptive blood.

During a canvass, agents learned that Danny had not been seen for a couple of weeks.

New Mexico State Police uniformed officers located Danny’s vehicle at a residence on East 18th Street in Farmington, the release said.

New Mexico State Police continue their investigation.

Gary Lee Durham (Courtesy New Mexico State Police)

After a three-week investigation, New Mexico State Police arrested Gary Lee Durham late last week on an open count of murder in connection with the death of Danny Casalenuovo of Kirtland.

Casalenuovo is estimated to have died around March 5.

Durham’s felony criminal record includes convictions for a DUI in 2011 and for contributing to the delinquency of a minor in 2013, according to New Mexico court records. He was arrested April 7 and charged with shooting Casalenuovo to death and burying the body in a remote location to hide the crime.

State police opened their investigation March 20, when Moriarty business owner Dennis South contacted them about an employee, Roy Canon, who said he knew of a homicide in San Juan County. Police interviewed Canon and learned his cousin, Durham, reportedly confided in him that he killed someone at his father’s home in Kirtland.

The investigation continued in Farmington, where state police investigated the residence of the suspect’s father, Gary Richard Durham, and the surrounding area. It was learned that Danny Casalenuovo was living with Gary Richard Durham at a home on County Road 6264. Neighbors in the area told police Casalenuovo would walk his dog throughout the neighborhood, but he not been seen in since around March 5.

Gary Richard Durham was brought in for questioning and told authorities “there were physical fights at his house between Gary Lee and Danny (Casalenuovo),” according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant. The affidavit also stated that Gary Richard Durham stopped the interview when police asked if his son shot and killed Casalenuovo.

By March 22, police discovered Casalenuovo’s electronic benefit transfer card was being used by someone other than Casalenuovo “at various stores.” It was reportedly being used by Gary Lee Durham’s friend David Thompson, who also was observed driving Casalenuovo’s Chevy Trailblazer.

Two weeks later, on April 7, police found Gary Lee Durham and Thompson at a home in the 2900 block of East 18th Street, Farmington. Both were arrested and questioned in connection with the death of Casalenuovo. During the interview, Thompson reportedly told police that Gary Lee Durham admitted that he killed Casalenuovo and gave him the man’s EBT card and vehicle.

When police questioned Gary Lee, Durham he allegedly admitted to arguing with Casalenuovo in regards to the door to his bedroom being removed. Gary Lee told police he had a .22 caliber rifle during the argument and his father had a sword. “Gary said he fired a warning shot, which did not hit Danny, but Danny walked toward him. At that time, Gary fired six shots to Danny’s torso, which killed him,” the affidavit stated.

Father and son reportedly dragged the body and stored it in a bathtub, waiting a day for it “to get stiff,” then, they allegedly loaded it into a Gary Richard Durham’s pickup and drove to Cutter Dam, where Gary Lee Durham reportedly buried the body and covered the dirt in tires. Gary Lee Durham took police to the burial location, where Casalenuovo’s body was found.

Gary Lee Durham was charged with an open count of murder, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a felon and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence. A preliminary hearing will be held at 3:30 p.m. May 9 in 11th Judicial District Judge Daylene Marsh’s courtroom.