Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vince Barela Accepts Plea Deal From Prosecutors

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Two years after his arrest on three felonies, including murder, the case against Vince Barela is coming to a close.
Barela, 37, was bound over to District Court earlier this year on three charges – murder, aggravated assault on a household member, and tampering with evidence - stemming from the death of a Socorro woman, Eileen Gabaldon.
At a hearing before Judge Kevin Sweazea Tuesday, Barela agreed with prosecutors to plead guilty of a single charge of second degree murder, rather than face a jury trial on the three charges.
Gabaldon had been severely beaten at her residence on Sixth Street in Feb. 2008 and died at University of New Mexico Hospital three days later.
An autopsy report revealed she had received extensive blunt trauma to the head causing facial fractures, deep bruising to the skin and bleeding to the brain. She also had second and first degree burns on her torso and several broken ribs.
The report also said Gabaldon had first and second degree burns on her abdomen and chest.
After an investigation by Socorro police officer Richard Lopez, Barela was arrested Feb. 13, 2008.
With the guilty plea, Barela faces a possible 15 years in the state penitentiary.
District Attorney Clint Wellborn said he felt the decision was fair and that justice was being served.
Sweazea will decide on Barela’s sentence at a later date.
“Barela will be sent for a 60 day diagnostic, and he will be sentenced after that,” Wellborn said.

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