Clovis man gets 2 life terms for double murder

File Photo; Anthony Casillas

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) - A Clovis, N.M., man convicted of the 2008 shooting deaths of a Melrose man and a Texas woman has been sentenced to consecutive life sentences for two first-degree murder convictions.

Anthony Casillas was convicted in August of shooting 52-year-old Gary Payne and 36-year-old Melissa Ward of Lubbock while the three were riding in a van in Clovis.

The 24-year-old must serve at least 60 years before he is eligible for parole. That's because a life sentence in New Mexico is designated as 30 years before the possibility of parole. Judge Robert Orlik handed down the sentences on Friday.

District Attorney Matt Chandler said the shooting was the final act in a series of arguments with Payne, his co-worker.

Casillas has maintained his innocence and accused Chandler of prosecuting him to further his political career.


Information from: Clovis News Journal,