Officers to stand trial for death of homeless camper

Albuquerque officer Dominique Perez, left, and former Albuquerque Detective Keith Sandy, right, stand up in court after listening to a special prosecutor tell a judge at a preliminary hearing in Albuquerque that they unlawfully shot a homeless camper who posed no threat in Albuquerque, N.M. on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Sandy and Perez are facing second-degree murder charges in the 2014 fatal shooting death of 38-year-old James Boyd. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque judge has decided that Officer Dominique Perez and former detective Keith Sandy will stand trial in the shooting death of James Boyd.

The decision came after six days of testimony. The judge took only three hours to officially decide that the officers would head to trial.

A judge heard closing arguments Tuesday in the hearing for Sandy and Perez who are facing a murder charge in the case. In closing arguments, the state and defense painted two completely different pictures for the judge about what happened that February day in the foothills when Boyd was killed.

The two officers are now facing charges of aggravated battery, voluntary manslaughter and second degree murder.

“I think it was a very difficult decision for the judge and for everybody. I think what the judge has established is that police officers can’t shoot if there’s an imagined threat, only if there’s a real threat,” said Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn.

From the beginning, prosecutors claimed police cannot claim self-defense because they turned the standoff into a dangerous situation. They continued to say Boyd had surrendered before he was shot.

The defense says that the officers were doing their jobs to protect the K-9 officer who was too close to Boyd.

“God forbid that we have a police officer who needs to be protected by a fellow officer and that police officer hesitates because he’s worried about the government turning around and prosecuting him,” said Defense Attorney Sam Bregman.

The next step in the case will be the arraignment, the official reading of the charges, for Sandy and Perez. It is unknown at this time when they will go to trial.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden released this statement about the ruling. “As this case is moving though our judicial system, my focus is on continually moving the Albuquerque Police Department forward. We will protect our community, and I greatly appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of those who wear a uniform each and every day. As a witness in this case, it would be improper for me to comment about specifics.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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