CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – A convicted child killer and one of New Mexico’s most wanted fugitives is finally back in New Mexico’s custody.
Edward Salas was returned to New Mexico by the US Marshals Service on Saturday after years on the run. Now authorities say they’re close to closure in the case of shooting death of a ten-year old Clovis boy
“We’re really pleased,” said Gov. Susana Martinez on Saturday, responding to the news the Salas was is now finally back in New Mexico.
“He’s currently in the penitentiary starting to serve him life sentence plus 56 years,” said Gov. Martinez.
The case against Salas started in 2005. Prosecutors says Salas and four other men shot into a window at a Clovis apartment.
“The plan was to retaliate against the older brother of Carlos Perez,” said Matthew Chandler, the Curry County District Attorney.
But instead, the group’s bullets hit 10-year old Carlos Perez in the head. Perez died instantly.
For three of the men involved, justice was served shortly after the crime. However, for Salas and another man involved, Noe Torres, the pair evaded justices.
Edward Salas was convicted of Perez’s murder in 2008, however, Salas escaped from the Curry County Detention Center in August 2008 along with seven other inmates.
Salas then went missing in Mexico for four years before a break came.
“Watching Edward Salas walk out of a convenience store where they were able to arrest him,” said Chandler in October 2012 press conference where he announced Salas’ arrest.
However, since then, Salas has been fighting extradition in a Mexican courtroom. Governor Martinez says Mexican authorities have helped speed the process along though.
“An extradition can take up to six years, and this took just a little over a year,” said Gov Martinez.
Now authorities have turned their attention back on Noe Torres. He also fled to Mexico but authorities captured and returned him in July 2012. His fate is now uncertain.
“Noe Torres of course is still awaiting trial, so his fate will be determined this summer. In front of 12 jurors,” said Chandler.
While Torres awaits trial, Governor Martinez says the family of the victim, Carlos Perez, is sleeping easier.
“The family is so relieved that everyone responsible is behind bars and all of them have been convicted except one,” said Gov. Martinez.
Right now, Torres is slated to go to trial in July. He’s facing several counts of murder. The New Mexico Department of Corrections is still in the process of booking Salas and figuring out exactly what prison he’ll spend the rest of his life in.