LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The state’s key witness in the Andrew Romero murder trial was on the stand Wednesday. Tabitha Littles, Romero’s then-girlfriend, says she watched that night last year when Romero shot and killed Rio Rancho Police Officer Gregg Benner.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned Littles for about six hours.
She told jurors that Romero had said in their previous conversations that he’d never go back to prison and that if ever he was confronted by police it was going to be “either him or the cop”.
Littles testified that they hadn’t been dating long but their relationship escalated quickly. She also told jurors they did meth and heroin together and would commit armed robberies to feed their drug habit.
According to Littles, the couple ended up living out of her Dodge Durango and that last year on Memorial Day they were driving around, getting high on meth when Romero decided they would head up to Rio Rancho to look for another “place to hit.”
That’s when Officer Benner pulled Littles over.
She says it was Romero who eventually yelled at her to drive away. Before she got far, she testified that Romero wanted to take the wheel and push her out of the SUV so she wouldn’t be involved.
After that happened, Littles says Benner asked if she was okay as he approached Romero in the SUV.
Then, she says she heard four gunshots.
Three hit and killed Officer Benner and one injured Littles’ foot.
She went to the hospital, and the defense painted her as a cold, uncaring criminal who spent her hospital stay getting high off drugs she’d hidden, saying she never once asked about Officer Benner.
The defense took over Wednesday afternoon saying Littles, who took a plea deal in exchange for testifying, is lying to save herself.
The prosecution says Romero was seen on surveillance video earlier in the day, walking into a Taco Bell, which he and Littles robbed. Littles recalled everything Romero was wearing that day: jean shorts and white tennis shoes, which coincided with surveillance photos.
Littles was originally charged with murder for not warning the officer that Romero was about to shoot him. Under her plea deal, she faces up to 16 years.
The last thing Littles heard Benner say after the fatal shots was, “What’s his name?” as he asked her about the shooter.
Littles claims she feels remorse over the murder.
“I feel very sad it should never have happened, you know. I feel bad for his wife, his family,” Littles said.