Roswell man gets life prison term for slaying

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) - A Roswell man has been sentenced to life in prison plus 18 years for the slaying of a Tucumcari truck driver.

Ninth Judicial District officials say 25-year-old Brandon Barela was sentenced Monday in the April 2009 killing of 51-year-old Ron Hittson. Barela was convicted last Dec. 17 by a Curry County jury of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and two counts of tampering with evidence.

A body was found in a ditch in the Clovis area on April 2, 2009, but authorities say it was unrecognizable due to severe facial injuries. It was later identified as Hittson during an autopsy.

An investigation found that Barela stole $300 for Hittson, then beat him on the head with a cinder block and left him to die. Police later recovered the murder weapon and Barela's bloody clothing.

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