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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST


PECOS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state police say a Pecos man is accused of fatally shooting two drinking companions and shooting at another man who had called 911 while hiding in a closet of his residence. A state police statement said officers on Saturday found 40-year-old Mark Valencia in a vehicle outside the residence, two people fatally shot inside and the property owner hiding in a closet. Those killed were identified as Santa Fe residents Steven Singer and Evan Aragon. Valencia's defense lawyer did not immediately respond to a phone call by The Associated Press seeking comment on behalf of Valencia about the allegations.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state Senate redistricting plan is in limbo amid a standoff over Native American political priorities and efforts by lawmakers to avoid competitive pairing of incumbents in the next election. The Senate canceled a floor session Monday amid negotiations. States must redraw their congressional and legislative districts every 10 years to reflect new population numbers. A broad coalition of Native American communities is backing a plan to shore up Indigenous voting majorities in three Senate districts in northwestern New Mexico and reinforce voting blocs elsewhere. Left intact, that proposal would leave Republican state Sen. Joseph Sanchez of Bosque outside the boundaries of his current district.


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A grand jury in Texas has returned a capital murder indictment against a man authorities have said confessed to killing five people, including three whose dismembered bodies were found in a burning dumpster earlier this year. The Tarrant County district attorney's office says Jason Thornburg was indicted Monday on a charge of capital murder in the deaths of David Lueras, Lauren Phillips and Maricruz Mathis. Their bodies were discovered in a burning dumpster in Fort Worth in September. According to his arrest warrant, in addition to confessing to their kllings, he also confessed to earlier killing his roommate and girlfriend.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday announced the state's first identified case of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Health officials say the case was identified Sunday and involves a Bernalillo County woman. They say the unidentified woman reported recent domestic travel to a state with reported cases of omicron. Authorities say the woman was seen in a local emergency room and then discharged. The state health department is currently conducting a thorough case investigation.  The omicron variant has been confirmed in at least 30 states and the District of Columbia as well as more than 60 countries. Arizona reported its first confirmed case of the omicron variant on Dec. 8 in Yavapai County.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Monday reported 19 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total to 40,519 cases since the pandemic began. The known death toll remains at 1,562. Tribal health officials reported 23 cases Sunday plus one death. Based on cases from Nov. 26-Dec. 9, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 58 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has issued a reminder to get the vaccine or the booster as the Christmas holiday approaches.  


McMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Thousands of towns across the United States that were wracked by the opioid crisis are on the precipice of receiving billions of dollars in the second-biggest legal settlement in U.S. history. The $26 billion from three drug distributors and a pharmaceutical manufacturer would address damage wrought by the opioid epidemic, which the federal government declared a public health emergency in 2017. States, counties and cities face a deadline in three weeks to sign onto the settlement, and most have agreed to do so. But a few holdouts remain, including Oregon, where disagreements have emerged between state and local government officials.