Man state police arrest, charge in double homicide was acquitted of murder in 2007

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Donald Ferran (New Mexican file photo)

From an e-mail from New Mexico State Police Lt. Eric Garcia (see more in Tuesday’s New Mexican):

State Police have arrested 28 year old Donald Ferran of Ojo Caliente for the Feb. 28 double homicide of 27 year old Sarah Salazar and 25 year old Joey Maestas of Rio Arriba County. In a multiple felony count arrest warrant, Donald Ferran will face charges of Murder in the First Degree (2 Counts) and Tampering with Evidence (2 Counts).

• • •

(THIS WAS INCLUDED IN MONDAY’S PRESS RELEASE, BUT IS FROM A PAST STATEMENT RELEASED ON THE INVESTIGATION)

State Police continue to follow evidence into a vehicle fire that ultimately lead to the finding of two heavily burned bodies in the early morning hour of Monday, Feb. 28.

At approximately 4 a.m., State Police were alerted to a vehicle fire in a rest area just off US 285 near mile post 338 (between Española and Ojo Caliente).  Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Volunteers from the Agua Sauna Fire Department were working to put the fire out when on-scene personnel made a horrific discovery. Agents with the State Police Criminal Investigations Bureau were called to the incident and began an in-depth investigation into what lead up to the vehicle fire. Since that early morning hour, agents have located evidence that has lead them to a double homicide.

Agents have been able to confirm there were two bodies in the car at the time of the fire that has left them unidentifiable without the assistance of the Office of the Medical Investigator. The vehicle has been confirmed as a 2000 Honda Accord.  Since last registered, the vehicle has transferred hands twice. The Investigations Bureau in Espanola is asking if anyone has information to please call 505-753-2277.

And this from a 2007 New Mexican archive story on Ferran’s 2007 acquital in a murder trial:

Donald Ferran walked away from state District Court a free man Monday after a jury acquitted him of charges that he killed Candice “Cande” Salazar two years ago at her Española apartment.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated only a few hours Monday morning before delivering its verdict.

“The nightmare for Donald is over, ” defense attorney Gary Mitchell said. “He spent a year in the county jail and a year on an ankle bracelet, and now he can finally take his children and go somewhere. And most important for him, he can finally support his family and take care of his children.”

Salazar, 44, a single mother who drank heavily and used and sold crack cocaine, according to trial testimony, was found dead with her throat slashed in her home at Las Lomas Apartments in Española.

Prosecutors maintained Ferran, who also lived at Las Lomas, killed Salazar in a drug-induced rage. However, no murder weapon was found.

Last summer, a jury acquitted Ferran of first-degree murder but deadlocked on a second-degree charge.

Mitchell, who was retained by Ferran’s family for both trials, said none of the forensic evidence linked his client to the crime. If the state crime lab had analyzed the DNA samples and fingerprints promptly, he said, this would have cleared Ferran.

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