Brandon Barela’s facial expression didn’t change as the verdict was read Thursday afternoon.
After less than two hours of deliberations, a Curry County jury found the 25-year-old guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and two counts of tampering with evidence.
The verdict came after Barela’s defense team conceded Barela was involved in the April beating death of Tucumcari truck driver Ron Hittson, 51.
“I’m not going to insult your intelligence; a man is dead and clearly Mr. Barela was involved in that,” defense attorney Chandler Blair told jurors in his closing arguments.
“What we had here was a rash killing. ... There’s no plan, this was just something that went horribly, horribly wrong.”
Blair characterized the killing as a spur of the moment incident that got out of control for Barela, who had been drinking all night long.