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Hobbsan charged in 2017 arson incident

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Hobbsan charged in 2017 arson incident

The Hobbs Police Department have charged a Hobbs man with felony arson after a lab report by the State of New Mexico linked him to a March 2017 arson incident on East Clinton.

Juan Nunez, 39, was arrested on a warrant Saturday by the Lea County Sheriff’s Office and charged with arson (more than $20,000), a second-degree felony. He was booked at the Lea County Detention Center (LCDC) in Lovington.

On March 3, 2017, Hobbs police responded to a structure fire call at the 1300 block of East Clinton where several vehicles and a carport were on fire. An officer also saw a bedroom window was broken on the residence with blood outside of it, according to the criminal complaint. Hobbs police also found a brick inside the bedroom, which fit the hole in the broken window. Four vehicles were damaged in the fire.

Three of the vehicles were registered to the same woman, identified as the homeowner. The fourth was registered to her friend.

The homeowner told police she and two friends were at a Hobbs restaurant when she saw Nunez, who she described as an ex-boyfriend. Later, she and her friends went to another location in Hobbs, where she’d been contacted by emergency dispatch and informed about the fire.

“(She) said she suspected that Nunez may have started the fire and broken her bedroom window,” the complaint states. “(She) explained that Nunez knew which bedroom belonged to her and he had seen her with a man earlier at the (restaurant).”

Hobbs police also interviewed the friends and later located Nunez, who was bleeding from his hands and arms. He was arrested on an intoxicated driving charge and police obtained warrants for his DNA. Earlier this month, the police department received a lab report from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety regarding DNA profile results.

“The lab report results identified that Nunez had been at the (home) when the bedroom window was broken, which occurred at the time of the fire,” the complaint states. “Nunez had been located short time after the fire to have cuts and scratches on both hands.”

The complaint details a Hobbs Fire Department “origin and cause report” on the fire. It also states the homeowner provided estimates on damage to the carport and one of the a vehicles, which was $23,424.45.

Nunez is still detained at LCDC, as of Tuesday.

New Mexico court records reflect Nunez has prior felony convictions. He has charges pending in Fifth Judicial District Court, including aggravated DWI.

Burkett Shaw
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