ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Taos man serving life sentence for 2002 rape and murder didn’t kill himself in 2008, mother claims.
The mother of a Taos man convicted of a 2002 murder has filed a wrongful death suit against the state Corrections Department, claiming that her son, who was found dead in his cell in January 2008, did not commit suicide, The Taos News reported.
Ella Duran-Miera filed suit in late January against the state of New Mexico, the Corrections Department and “certain officials and employees” over the death of her son, 23-year-old Nathaniel Duran, who was serving a life sentence when he was found in his cell around 3 a.m., sitting at a desk in a level 6 maximum security cell with a sheet around his neck, The News said.
Duran was convicted by a jury in 2003 of first-degree murder, criminal sexual penetration and tampering with evidence in the July 9, 2002 death of 36-year-old Marioara Shand in a Ranchos de Taos apartment she rented from Duran’s grandparents, the paper reported.
Shand had been raped, stabbed 14 times and her throat had been cut twice, according to testimony at the 2003 trial.
Duran was sentenced in March 2004 to life in prison plus 10 1/2 years, and at the time of his sentencing ripped off his shirt and began screaming obscenities, The News said.
According to court records, Duran had filed a civil suit against the penitentiary in October 2007 complaining of his confinement conditions, but that suit was dismissed weeks after Duran’s death, the paper reported.