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Around New Mexico

Soldier Dies in Afghanistan

A National Guard soldier from Española died in Afghanistan on New Year’s Eve, the result of a heart attack, according to the military.

Specialist Pernell Johnnie Herrera, 33, died in Helmand Province “of cardiac arrest after performing physical fitness training, according to the initial medical review,” according to a statement from the New Mexico National Guard.

He was a signal support systems specialist with C. Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, which is based in Santa Fe. Herrera’s death was not related to combat, the National Guard said.

He “enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard on May 18, 2006 and served honorably over the last 5 1/2 years,” the guard said.

A member of Herrera’s family, reached by phone on Monday, referred all questions to a guard spokesman.

A National Guard spokesman said Herrera was born in Los Alamos, grew up in Española and graduated from Española Valley High School.

Robbery at U.S. Bank

The FBI and Albuquerque police are investigating the robbery of U.S. Bank on Monday afternoon.

Authorities said the suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his mid-30s with a light complexion and medium build. He’s about 5 feet 8 inches.

The suspect wore a black beanie cap, black hooded sweatshirt, light gray pants and dark shoes.

Witnesses say he entered the bank, which is near Carlisle and Constitution, about 1 p.m.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the Albuquerque FBI Office at (505) 889-1300 or Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP.

The FBI may pay a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.

Rep. Wants Statute Reform

SANTA FE, N.M. – A New Mexico lawmaker wants to eliminate the state’s statute of limitations for second-degree murder and extend time limits for prosecuting other felonies.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that State Rep. William “Bill” Rehm says he will introduce legislation that would scrap the six years statute of limitations for second-degree murder.

The Albuquerque Republican’s bill also would lengthen the time in which underlying charges of conspiracy and tampering with evidence could be prosecuted.

Rehm said he is motivated to file the bill after an Albuquerque woman, Ellen Snyder, shot and killed her husband in 2002 but prosecutors couldn’t file second-degree murder charges against her because of the statute of limitations.

Snyder pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received 11 years in prison instead of life.
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal