Home Law and Courts Suspect in 2015 murder out on probation arrested again

Suspect in 2015 murder out on probation arrested again

6 min read

Suspect could serve full suspended sentence


Kelly Farrell


Hobbs resident David Coelho is back in jail on an alleged probation violation less than a week after being sentenced to supervised probation in the June 2015 homicide of Julio Gonzalez.

Coelho, 34, was arrested on a warrant Monday by Hobbs police and charged with probation violation, a fourth-degree felony. He is detained at the Lea County Detention Center, as of Tuesday.

On Feb. 8, Coelho pleaded guilty in Fifth Judicial District Court in Lovington to charges of voluntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, and felon in possession of a firearm, a fourth-degree felony. Coelho had been charged with accessory to first-degree murder in connection to the June 26, 2015 shooting death of 37-year-old Gonzalez at the 300 block of East St. Anne. District Judge William Shoobridge sentenced him to six years in prison followed by two years of parole, all suspended except for time served, and five years of supervised probation; and 18 months with one year of parole on the second charge.

“He failed to report to probation is my understanding,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Kuykendall, who prosecuted the case for the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, stated Tuesday. “We file a probation violation once we received the report from probation. It will be set for a hearing after that.”

If found guilty of a probation violation, Coelho could serve all or part of his suspended sentence — seven and a half years — and it could potentially be longer.

At the Feb. 8 plea hearing, Kuykendall stated the DA’s Office could file Coehlo’s prior felony convictions in the event of a probation violation, which could send him back to prison for the maximum sentence. Coelho admitted to three previous felonies in Curry County for auto burglary, false imprisonment and felon in possession of a firearm, as part of the plea agreement.

Shoobridge also made a “serious violent offense” finding, or SVO finding, that requires inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

“The court will go ahead and accept the joint recommendation, but I’ll tell you Mr. Coelho, that if there is any time that you are back in front of this court — the great probability is I’ll have very little tolerance if there’s substantial evidence that you’ve violated any condition of probation,” Shoobridge said at the hearing. “And there is also — with three priors — eight year enhancement on each count. You’re looking at significant amount of time.”

Coelho’s two co-defendants also took plea deals in the case. Christopher Cardenas, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Lovington last week and sentenced to 19 years in prison. In December, Hobbs resident Erica Martinez, 29, pleaded no contest to accessory to second-degree murder. Martinez is awaiting sentencing.

Coelho’s Albuquerque defense attorney, Daniel M. Salazar, did not return a request for comment about the arrest as of presstime Tuesday.


Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or courts@hobbsnews.com.


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