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Witness in deadly DWI found dead

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Tim DeAquero testifies during a prelimunary hear for Juan Cordova who was facing vehicular homicide and other charges related to an accident in 2011.This was in First District Court in Santa Fe, Wednesday September 28, 2011. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Tim DeAquero testifies during a prelimunary hear for Juan Cordova who was facing vehicular homicide and other charges related to an accident in 2011.This was in First District Court in Santa Fe, Wednesday September 28, 2011. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

A Chimayó resident who was a witness in a 2012 vehicular homicide trial is now himself a homicide victim.

New Mexico State Police have identified a man who was found dead on the porch of an El Llano home near Española last week as Timothy DeAguero, 41.

“At this time, we can call it a homicide investigation,” State Police spokesman Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said Tuesday.

DeAguero’s body was discovered just before 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 at a home on Vista De Valle that was not his residence, police said. He had suffered a leg injury and was found by the home’s owner.

The cause of death has not yet been determined by the state Office of the Medical Investigator.

Gutierrez said he could not reveal why the death was being investigated as a homicide. Investigators are “following up on all leads and avenues pertaining to this case,” Gutierrez said.

In December 2012, DeAguero reluctantly testified in the high-profile vehicular homicide trial of Juan de Dios Cordova. On the stand, DeAguero said he felt sick and didn’t get his methadone before being placed in jail so he could be a witness. During an earlier preliminary hearing, he was sent to jail by the judge for testing positive for drugs when he showed up for court.

After a jury trial, Cordova, then 57, was found guilty of vehicular homicide, two counts of great bodily injury by vehicle, two counts of aggravated DWI and one count of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident.

Cordova was accused of driving a pickup truck drunk when it crossed the center line on N.M. 76 near Chimayó and plowed into a group of motorcyclists, killing Mark Wolfe of Algodones on Memorial Day weekend in 2011.

Wolfe, 51, was the lead rider in a group including his wife, Debbie Hill, and four friends, who were on a motorcycle journey through northern New Mexico. Hill was seriously injured.

DeAguero initially told sheriff’s deputies he was in the truck with Cordova. But at trial, he denied even knowing Cordova, much less riding in the truck during the fatal crash. He at one point also said he was with Cordova in the days before the crash, then said he couldn’t be sure.

He testified that he lives his life “blacked out” because of chronic pain, due in part to prior car crashes, and starts each morning with a mix of medication and alcohol.

Investigators said that witnesses had seen Cordova, DeAguero and Ivory Martinez, DeAguero’s girlfriend, running from the truck after the crash. Martinez also initially told investigators she was in the truck with Cordova but denied that in court testimony.

Defense attorney Damian Horne was critical of the state’s case, which itself provoked a State Police investigation over who actually wrote a disputed criminal report. The truck that Cordova was said to be driving was mistakenly destroyed by a towing company rather then preserved for evidence. Horne also cited the fact that a blood sample taken from Cordova to prove he was drunk had been stored over a weekend in a deputy’s refrigerator.

Cordova was sentenced in February to the maximum amount of time allowed by law which was two days short of 29 years in prison.

Anyone with information on DeAguero’s death is asked to call Sgt. Chris Valdez at the Española office of the State Police at 505-753-2277.

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