SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed a state district court’s decision in granting a new trial for a Roswell man. According to a news release, this comes after DNA test results raised questions about his conviction in a fatal shooting in 2012.
The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously reached the conclusion, officials said in the release, outlining a new process for judges to decide whether to grant a new trial or other kinds of relief based on DNA test results obtained after someone was convicted of a crime.
Gregory Marvin Hobbs, a Roswell man who was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013 for fatally shooting another man during an altercation, will now face a new trial after the Supreme Court reversed the state’s court of appeals and reinstated the district court’s order for a new trial.
The new trial will be based on DNA testing of the handgun that Hobbs fired, officials said in the release. The victim’s DNA is a “very strong match” with DNA found on the handgun’s ejection port.
“We hold that in analyzing whether to grant postconviction relief, the district court must first make a threshold determination as to whether the test results are exculpatory, that is, they reasonably tend to establish the petitioners innocence or negate the petitioners guilt,” the Court wrote in an opinion by Justice Briana H. Zamora. “Second, if the district court finds the DNA evidence is exculpatory, the controlling inquiry under Section 31-1A-2(I) is whether and to what extent the evidence would have changed the result of the petitioners trial. In determining whether to order relief, the district courts analysis should be guided by the standard that applies to the specific form of postconviction relief requested.”
The court concluded that the DNA test results help corroborate the claim that Hobbs acted in self-defense when he shot and killed the man, the release said.
“While it is a close question, we also conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Hobbs’s motion for a new trial based on its determination that the evidence would likely have resulted in a different verdict had it been available at trial,” the justices wrote.