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

  • Navajo Nation: 37 more COVID cases, no deaths 2nd day in row

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 37 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the second consecutive day. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total to 40,571 cases since the pandemic began. The known death toll remains at 1,562. 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. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • Pecos man accused of fatally shooting drinking companions

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.

  • What's going on with Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial?

NEW YORK (AP) — The prosecution has made its case against Ghislaine Maxwell. Starting Thursday, her defense takes its turn. Maxwell has denied all charges levied against her. Her defense contends she's being victimized by a need to make someone pay for the alleged crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on his own sex-abuse charges. With just days left in Maxwell's trial, it's time to take stock of developments. There's a good chance the trial will be over before the end of the year. Read on to find out about her accusers, her history and her jailhouse reading list.

  • New Mexico Senate passes broadband, highway spending bill

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico state Senate has passed a spending proposal that would allocate some $478 million in federal funds to internet infrastructure, highways and other projects. It now goes back to the House. The funding could accelerate the development of high-speed internet in New Mexico. It authorizes $133 million in spending on internet projects, including emerging technologies like wireless towers, blimps, and new satellite internet networks. The bill would also allocate money to roads, state parks, and affordable housing. The state legislature is allocating federal funds after the state Supreme Court ruled last month that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham couldn't allocate the funds herself. 

  • Fatal shooting by Torrance County deputy under investigation

ESTANCIA, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Police says a Torrance County sheriff's deputy fatally shot a man who reportedly had earlier entered a woman's backyard and fired at least one gunshot. The State Police didn't immediately release the identity of the man shot Monday. The State Police said it was investigating the incident and that results of the investigation would be turned over to the District Attorney's Office. According to a State Police statement, the man was wearing a black hoodie and red facemask when he entered the woman's yard. According to the statement, "for reasons still under investigation the deputy discharged his duty weapon at least once striking the suspect.:"

  • New Mexico redistricting stalls amid discord on tribal plan

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.

  • Man indicted after 3 bodies found in burning Texas dumpster

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.

  • New Mexico reports its first case of the omicron variant

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.