James Boyd shooting

Judge: Attorneys can’t use James Boyd’s full criminal history at trial

Defense and prosecuting attorneys will not be able to use James Boyd’s full criminal history in a trial later this year for two former Albuquerque police officers charged with his murder, a judge ruled Thursday.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield agreed Thursday with a motion filed by prosecutors for the state that jurors should only be able to know what officers were aware of regarding Boyd’s criminal history when they confronted him in the Albuquerque foothills in 2014.

“I don’t think it’s really any disagreement that evidence of specific instances of the victim’s prior violent conduct that the defendants were aware of it may be admitted for the purpose of showing the defendants’ fear of the victim,” said Judge Hadfield. “But that is limited to what they were actually aware of at the time of or prior to the incident.”

Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez are both charged with second-degree murder in Boyd’s shooting death and face a September trial.

Boyd had been arrested at least a dozen times before officers confronted him that day in the foothills for camping on open space land, which is illegal in the city.

Hadfield had previously said that she did not want the extra information to possibly taint the jury pool, something special prosecutor Randi McGinn also argued for.

“It’s not just blaming the victim. It’s something worse,” said McGinn. “It’s saying that no matter if we just shot him justifiably or not, it’s OK because he was mentally ill and he had done some bad things in his life and deserved to die.”

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Sept. 12.

APD officers accused of murdering James Boyd booked, released

The two Albuquerque police officers charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of James Boyd last year were booked and released from jail Monday and Tuesday.

Dominique Perez was booked Monday morning just after 8 a.m. on second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.

Former officer Keith Sandy was booked Tuesday morning around 7:30 on second-degree murder and aggravated battery with great bodily harm charges.

Perez was released Monday and Sandy was released Tuesday. Each spent little time in jail.

Sandy listed his home address as the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, while Perez listed his as APD Main.

Monday, a judge set their trial dates for Aug. 15, 2016. The trial is expected to last three weeks. Sandy’s attorney said he will seek a change of venue for the trial, as the case has received major attention in the Albuquerque media market.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment last Friday.

This story originally appeared at KOB.com

Trial for 2 APD officers accused of killing James Boyd tentatively set for Aug. 15, 2016

The trial for two Albuquerque police officers accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of James Boyd in the Albuquerque foothills last year has been tentatively set for Aug. 15, 2016.

The trial for Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez is expected to last for three weeks, including one week for jury selection.

Prosecutors have said they will need four days to present their case; defense attorneys plan to use the rest of the time.

At a scheduling conference in Albuquerque Monday, there was also discussion of possibly changing the venue for the trial to Las Cruces, as the case has received major attention in Albuquerque.

However, no motion for a change-of-venue has been submitted at this time.

Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said the judge gave a December deadline to file a motion for a change of venue.

Bregman said he plans to file the motion and hopes to have the trial in Las Cruces – outside the Albuquerque media market at the very least.

An Albuquerque judge ruled on Aug. 18 the two men will stand trial for Boyd’s death. They both face second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges. Perez faces aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges and Sandy faces aggravated battery with great bodily harm charges, in addition to the murder charges.

Neither Sandy or Perez were in court Monday, which Judge Alisa Hadfield brought up because neither filed a motion to recuse their appearance.

DA to pursue murder charges against officers in Boyd shooting

The Bernalillo County district attorney will pursue murder charges against the two Albuquerque police officers who fatally shot homeless camper James Boyd in the foothills last March.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg filed documents in district court Monday seeking to charge officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez with an open count of murder. The documents will result in a preliminary hearing for both Sandy and Perez. Continue reading

Attorney for Boyd’s family reacts to charges against officers

While Sam Bregman, the attorney who represents former APD officer Keith Sandy, defended him and his actions, the attorney for James Boyd’s family listened on, and had plenty to say afterwards regarding Bregman’s comments Monday.

“This is a day when the citizens of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County should be proud that our representative has the courage to say no one is above the law and no one is below the law — that every life in the city of Albuquerque matters,” said the attorney for James Boyd’s family, Shannon Kennedy.

She says the way attorney Sam Bregman portrayed Boyd in his comments was “dehumanizing.”

She told KOB she takes issue with Bregman’s descriptions of how Boyd “threatened” the officers, and said Boyd was provoked by open space officers, who woke him while he was sleeping and tried to pat him down.

Kennedy added that Boyd “did not assault” the officers and that their lives were not immediately in danger when officers Keith sandy and Dominique Perez shot him.

“James Matthew Boyd cannot speak for himself. Sadly, he’s gone,” Kennedy said. “[Bregman’s] client killed him. It was an unlawful taking of life. Police officers should not be able to be allowed to operate above the law.”

Kennedy hopes the charges will send a message to other officers and administrators, and she believes the lapel camera video is what made this case different. 

“One way we move forward is a watched cop does not boil. Keith Sandy’s camera did not work. He didn’t know he was being videotaped. But from here on out APD officers are going to know that they have a lapel camera that should be working. And if it’s not working, we’re suspicious as to why not,” Kennedy said.

Boyd’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against APD, and says they’ll be watching the upcoming preliminary hearing closely.

APD officer Keith Sandy retires from department

Albuquerque police officer Keith Sandy submitted a notice of his retirement to APD Tuesday, according to APD spokesperson Tanner Tixier.

Sandy has been heavily-scrutinized for his role in the shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd earlier this year.

A KOB investigation revealed that hours prior to shooting Boyd in a standoff involving APD and New Mexico State Police, Sandy told another officer he wanted to shoot Boyd in the groin.

An FBI investigation into Sandy’s shooting of Boyd is ongoing, but Sandy has not been indicted. Under New Mexico law, Sandy would not be entitled to a pension if he filed for retirement after a conviction.

The State Public Employees Retirement Association determines retirement eligibility and calculates pensions. KOB has requested Sandy’s documents, but will likely not see them until Wednesday at the earliest.

Sandy is also no longer listed on the City of Albuquerque’s transparency website, though a city spokesperson said that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s out of the payroll system.

Two hours before Sandy shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd, he was recorded telling another officer that he would shoot Boyd in the penis with a shotgun. 

Sandy responded to the scene on March 16th where Boyd refused to come down from a makeshift campsite in the foothills near Tramway and Copper.  At the scene, Sandy saw former colleague State Police Officer Chris Ware.  Sandy didn’t realize it, but Ware’s dash cam was rolling and picked up their conversation.

Sandy: What do they have you guys doing here?

Ware: I don’t know. The guy asked for state police.

Sandy: Who asked?

Ware: I don’t know.

Sandy: For this f***ing lunatic?  I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.

Ware: You got uh less-lethal?

Sandy: I got…

Ware: The Taser shotgun?

Sandy: Yeah.

Ware: Oh, I thought you guys got rid of those?

Sandy: ROP’s got one…here’s what we’re thinking, because I don’t know what’s going on, nobody has briefed me…

Civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy represents Boyd’s family in a wrongful death suit against APD.  Kennedy believes Sandy spelled out his intentions, then carried them out. 

“Two hours later he’s escalating the situation so he can do just that,” Kennedy said in an exclusive interview with 4 Investigates.  “It’s chilling evidence and stunning that he has not been criminally indicted.  He says to a state police officer ‘that f’ing lunatic, I’m going to shoot him in the penis.  It’s crystal clear and he says it with contempt in his voice.’”  

In April, APD internal investigators asked Sandy about what he meant by the “shooting in the penis” comment.  In an internal investigation transcript, sandy is quoted saying,

“Jokingly, just kind of locker room banter, just told him, you know, ‘Don’t worry.  I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”

But a few minutes later, the transcript shows that Sandy recanted his statement.  The investigator asked, “Did you say anything to Chris Ware about shooting him in the pecker?”

Sandy responded, “I don’t…no, I don’t think I did.”

In the transcript, Sandy gave the internal investigators a lengthy explanation how the officers working in the Albuquerque Police Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) often make cruel and crude jokes.  In fact, Sandy described the hostility among his peers getting so bad that the officers adopted a “safe word.”  When officer use the safe word, CHINA, all jokes must stop.  Sandy told investigators he was merely making a crude joke when he said he wanted to shoot Boyd in the penis. 

“Of course it’s not a joke because he went forward and actually shot him,” Kennedy said.  “Clearly he has complete disregard for people suffering from mental disabilities.  He calls him an expletive lunatic and then in the next breath says I’m going to shoot him in the penis.  What is so mortifying about this shooting, and thank goodness we have a tape to show exactly what he did– which is instead of shooting him in the penis, he shoots him in the lower back.  So had James Boyd not turned around at that moment to set down his bags, he would have been shot in the penis.”

Sandy, according to an APD spokeswoman, is on administrative leave, but may still carry his gun and badge.