EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A Las Cruces man is accused of killing his neighbor and injuring the man’s wife during a confrontation on Saturday.

80-year-old James Theriault according to the criminal complaint shot Carlos Picharo in the abdomen who died at the Mountain View Hospital. Fatima Ortiz, Picharo’s wife was also taken to the hospital with multiple shotgun wounds.  

Las Cruces Police Department officers responded to the incident in the 900 block of South San Pedro Street. The complaint stated that officers were previously dispatched to that same address for a verbal altercation between Picharo, Ortiz, Theriault, his son Cody Theriault and his girlfriend Erica Pena.

Ortiz told detectives that she and her husband have had problems with Theriault which include verbal altercation. This Saturday she and Picharo left their home, and upon their return, Theriault was on his back porch. Ortiz began recording because of previous incidents, that’s when he said” record me baby” and then pulled a gun and shot at her and her husband.

According to a court released document, officer overheard Theriault saying “I did what I had to do”. He stated he was in his back porch drinking beer and had his 9mm handgun for his protection and because it is his right. “It all happened so fast that I wasn’t sure how many times I fired” he added.

In the court documents, it is stated that after the shot were fired, Theriault said he went back to his home, gave the gun to his son, and told him to put it somewhere   

James Theriault was arrested and booked into the Dona Ana Country Detention Center. He was charged with:

  • First degree murder
  • Attempt to commit a felony
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence

Cody Theriault was arrested and booked into the Dona Ana Country Detention Center. He was charged with:

  • Tampering with evidence
  • Firearms or destructive devices; receipt, transportation, or possession by a felon
  • Conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence

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