Ochoa Case: Intent Follows the Bullet

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On a Saturday night in April 1955 at the Jimenez dance hall, located on the north side of the overpass off of New Mexico State Road 104 in Tucumcari, New Mexico, a shooting took place. The bar brawl left innocent bystander, Mrs. Andrea Gutierrez, 53, dead and a another, Jake Jaramillo, 21, wounded. This was my grandfather’s first homicide trial as District Judge.

Valentino Rueben Ochoa, 18, came to Tucumcari to go to a dance. He was from Amarillo, Texas, about 120 miles away. During the course of the night, a fight ensued. Ocha and a man by the name of Baca got into a fight. Ocha pulled a gun, he aimed it at Baca, fired, missed Baca but hit an Mrs. Gutierrez and Mr. Jaramillo.

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