A trial date has been set for mid-January 2024 in the homicide case of Gary Lee Durham.
Durham, 59, is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the March shooting death of Danny Casalenuovo of Kirtland. Durham also faces charges of tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Durham was scheduled for an arraignment on all charges Monday in the 11th Judicial District Court, but his attorney Greg Shearer stated he and his client would “remain silent.”
Assistant District Attorney Theresa Walker asked the judge to set a one-week trial in the case.
“With the homicide case, that could take a full week with the scientific evidence and witnesses,” Walker said. “We are in the process of setting up interviews there are a lot of out of town witnesses.”
Shearer agreed a week “would be sufficient” to try the case.
Durham is accused of shooting Casalenuovo, who was renting a room from Durham’s father, Gary Richard Durham, who owns a home on County Road 6264. It is alleged Casalenuovo was upset because the two men removed his bedroom door.
Gary Lee reportedly told New Mexico State Police police he had a .22-caliber rifle during the argument and his father, Gary Richard, 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 for arrest warrant 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’s pickup truck and drove to Cutter Dam, where Durham reportedly buried the body and covered the dirt in tires. This led to the tampering and conspiracy charges. Durham took police to the location, where Casalenuovo’s body was found.
District Court Judge Daylene Marsh set the trial for the week of Jan. 22, 2024. She set a pretrial conference for 8 a.m. Dec. 18, and a put it on the Jan. 4 docket call. She also advised Shearer to file a motion to transport Durham to the courthouse for future proceedings, because he appeared to be having difficulty hearing from the meeting room at the San Juan County Detention Center, where he is being held.
Durham also is facing a possession of a controlled substance in a separate case, so Marsh set that for a one-day trial on Feb. 19, with a Jan. 16 pretrial conference and a February docket call.