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Conviction in slaying upheld

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SANTA FE – The state Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a Hobbs man for a 2010 shooting death in the southeastern New Mexico community.

Nieves Sonny Ortega was sentenced to life in prison for killing Chris Laureles of Hobbs.

The court on Monday affirmed Ortega’s convictions of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted kidnapping and attempted robbery.

The court tossed out Ortega’s convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery and kidnapping because they violated constitutional protections against being punished more than once for the same crime. The justices said there was only one conspiracy.

Authorities said the victim was killed in a dispute with Ortega and Mark Ruiz, who contended that Laureles owed him money.

Ruiz is in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other crimes.

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