Seven-year-old matricide case could soon see resolution, lawyers say during hearing

·2 min read
Joshua Hunt
Joshua Hunt

LAS CRUCES - A seven-year-old murder case went before a judge on Monday as both parties signaled that a resolution to the case could be near.

Joshua Hunt was arrested and charged with killing his mother, 56-year-old Lisa Cano in 2014. Court records show that Hunt, now 43, pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him after he admitted to killing his mother with a sword when he was interviewed by police.

Yet, that didn't stop a jury from finding Hunt not guilty of first-degree murder during a trial in March 2021. Jurors deadlocked on whether Hunt was guilty of second-degree murder, forcing 3rd Judicial District Judge Conrad Perea to declare a mistrial.

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"I don't want to continue it," Judge Perea told lawyers during a docket call on Monday morning.

Hunt is scheduled for a second trial on Jan. 3, 2022, to determine if he's guilty of second-degree murder. Both prosecutors and Hunt's defense attorney said they didn't oppose another continuance, however, neither party requested one.

Instead, Hunt's attorney, Gary Mitchell, indicated to the court that a plea deal was coming and could be ready before the trial date. He said the facts of the case and the presence of a new prosecutor on the case meant a strong chance for a plea deal.

Linzui Vergara, assistant district attorney with the 3rd Judicial District Attorney's Office, is now the case's lead prosecutor, court records show.

An affidavit shows that police believe Hunt killed his mother on July 18, 2014, at their home on the 5800 block of Organ Peak Drive. Police said that Hunt admitted to murder during an interview. Other family members told police that Hunt had behavioral issues prior to the incident.

In the first trial, Mitchell said Hunt had been treated for mental illness for lengthy periods of time before the slaying. He described his client as being a victim of physical and sexual abuse, and also neglect.

Hunt was found competent to stand trial and has remained in jail ever since his arrest.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.

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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Seven-year-old matricide case could soon see resolution

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