Update: State rests in Duran trial
The state rested its case against former Valencia County sheriff’s deputy Patrick Duran on Wednesday.
Over the past couple of days, the state called several witnesses who helped form a more detailed, but not really clearer, picture of the scene of the crime — the shoulder of N.M. 304 in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2010.
Discrepancies between the testimony given this week and accounts given in interviews early during the investigation by the witnesses at the scene do exist. However, for the most part, the stories align; everyone confirmed the most important part that a law enforcement officer blackmailed a young woman into exposing herself.
An example of one of those discrepancies is how much the victim had to drink the night of the crime. Initially, Josh Sanchez, Duran’s defense attorney, pointed out, Samantha Patterson, the alleged victim, said she had one to two beers that night. On the witness stand, Patterson said she had a quarter of a Solo cup of alcohol at the party. Other such inconsistencies exist as well, and not just with Patterson’s account.
The following witnesses testified for the state: Samantha Patterson, the victim; Gabriel Montano, the victim’s boyfriend; a couple of Montano’s cousins, who were at the scene that night; an agent with the New Mexico State Police, who interviewed Patterson and Montano on the night in question; another agent with state police, who conducted interviews with the victims in the Shawn Baca case; and Inez Duran, Patrick Duran’s wife and then girlfriend on the night in question.
Duran’s attorneys began their defense on Wednesday as well. They are expected to call to the stand Shawn Baca, who’s serving time from a crime similar in nature to the one with which Duran is accused.
They will also call an expert witness who will testify about the powers of suggestion by law enforcement on a victim and how that suggestion affects the identification process of a suspect.
The defense stated in its opening argument that state police officers who conducted the investigation of Duran, consciously or unconsciously, affected Patterson’s positive ID.
The case now looks like it could be wrapped up by Friday.