Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
In the weeks prior to the late October shooting death of Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster, federal agents investigating drug and gun trafficking bought heroin and a revolver from the man suspected of killing Webster.
According to federal court records, undercover agents working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purchased heroin from Davon Lymon, 36, in mid-September. In early October, the agents bought more heroin and a revolver from Lymon, who had spent more than 10 years in state prison on a variety of charges, including voluntary manslaughter.
Although he theoretically could have been taken into custody in either of the transactions, Lymon wasn’t formally charged in the federal undercover investigation until early December – weeks after Webster had succumbed to his wounds suffered when he was shot during a felony traffic stop on East Central on the evening of Oct. 21.
Lymon allegedly had taken a 17-year-old girl to buy heroin that night and she was riding with him on a motorcycle when Webster pulled them over about 8 p.m. near Eubank and Central because a check on the motorcycle license plate showed it was stolen.
According to federal court records, Webster was handcuffing Lymon when Lymon complained of a shoulder injury. While Webster tried to handcuff Lymon to the motorcycle, Lymon pulled out a handgun and shot Webster multiple times.
Lymon then ran away, leading to an extensive police search ending with his arrest.
Lymon has not yet been formally charged with murder in Webster’s death because APD has not sent a completed case file to the district attorney, prosecutors said.
Instead, federal authorities took him into custody for being a felon in possession of a firearm that was used to shoot Webster and he has been held without bond.
He was later charged with selling heroin to undercover officers on Sept. 11, 2015, and again on Oct. 2, 2015.
A federal indictment also alleges that on Oct. 2, undercover agents purchased a .22-caliber revolver from Lymon, according to the indictment.
The indictment also makes forfeiture allegations seeking $6,500 from Lymon as the amount of money he received for selling undercover agents the heroin and the pistol.
Some media reports, quoting a legal document filed by Lymon’s attorneys, reported that the undercover operation was run by the Albuquerque Police Department.
Lymon’s attorneys in the federal cases, Marc Robert and Kari Converse, filed an amended motion attributing the undercover purchases of heroin and a revolver in September and October to an undercover ATF agent.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Martinez said in a statement Friday afternoon, “The Albuquerque Police Department did not have a role in developing the investigative strategy or supervising the investigation of the heroin case.”
Martinez said ATF conducted the undercover investigation.
She said she couldn’t make any other comment about the case.
Lymon has not been indicted in connection with Webster’s death.
District Attorney’s spokeswoman Kayla Anderson said, “We have not yet received a completed case from APD.”
The undercover purchases by federal agents weren’t the only opportunities to get Lymon off the street.
Last May, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies swore out a criminal complaint in an unrelated case charging Lymon with possession of a firearm by a felon and embezzlement over $500 but less than $2,500.
The complaint states that Lymon borrowed a gun from Jeff Gonzales of 9000 Veranda NE to go target shooting.
Lymon refused to return the .45-caliber pistol despite repeated telephone calls from Gonzales. Deputies found another witness to confirm Gonzales’ story.
Lymon was arrested on the charges on July 17 and the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the case on July 24.
DA’s spokeswoman Anderson said, “That case was dismissed by the State due to insufficient evidence, based on the lack of a gun being located.”
Anderson said the case was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained a grand jury indictment in November against Lymon for being a felon in possession of the .45-caliber pistol taken from Gonzales and being in possession of a stolen firearm.
Prior to the July arrest Lymon was charged in the beating of a man outside the Downtown Knockouts Gentleman’s Club in December 2014.
According to the criminal complaint, one video showed the victim in the case, Jose Macias, in a fight with bouncers from the strip club. A second video showed Lymon attacking Macias.
Felony charges were filed against Lymon and others but then dismissed because of discovery problems — turning over evidence to defense attorneys.
A video of the incident circulated on social media.
Earlier this year, District Attorney Kari Brandenburg blamed the New Mexico Supreme Court and its new speedy trial rules, which she says have forced prosecutors to voluntarily dismiss cases based on “technicalities.”
Misdemeanor charges stemming from the strip club incident were refiled a few months later but again dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office after the Webster shooting. Those charges could be refiled.