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NM court orders new trial in gang-related killing

SANTA FE (AP) — The state Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in a 2006 gang-related shooting in Albuquerque.

The court ruled Friday that a district court judge improperly closed the courtroom to some spectators during part of Manuel Turrietta’s trial to protect two witnesses, who were ex-gang members and police confidential informants.

Turrietta was convicted of killing Alberto Sandoval, who was a member of a rival gang.

The judge closed the courtroom so only attorneys, news media and family members of Turietta and the victim could hear testimony from the confidential informants.

The Supreme Court said that violated Turietta’s constitutional right to a public trial and prosecutors didn’t adequately justify partially closing the courtroom to protect against witness intimidation.