- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of a Las Cruces man who was retried for the 2006 killing of a 19-year-old in the southern New Mexico community.

Victor Paiz was sentenced to life in prison plus 21 years for first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting death of Jesse Bustillos.

The court on Thursday rejected Paiz’s arguments that a judge improperly allowed the testimony of two witnesses from his first trial to be used because they weren’t available for the retrial.

The court in 2011 overturned Paiz’s convictions because prosecutors included a drug trafficking charge in the trial unrelated to the killing. Authorities had found cocaine in searching Paiz’s home during the murder investigation.

Life imprisonment requires serving at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

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