Two local men were arrested the afternoon of Nov. 28 and charged in connection with the 2012 murder of a Texas man whose family was staying at a friend’s west Roswell home when the man and his family arrived at the house and unknowingly interrupted a burglary. The man was shot when he confronted one of the two burglars.
Determining the identity of the two burglars has been the focus of the six-year investigation that has been conducted by the Roswell Police Department and the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. On Wednesday, RPD arrested Luis Felipe Jimenez, 28, and Joseph Donald Barnhill, 31, and charged each with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary (use of a deadly weapon).
During various interviews with detectives from RPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, Jimenez and Barnhill have each told conflicting stories about what occurred during the Dec. 11, 2012, burglary that turned into a homicide. The investigation continues in an attempt to sort out further specifics.
However, investigators have determined that on the day of the incident, Saul Sanchez, 39, his wife and their two daughters, ages 6 and 16 at the time, found the house in the 1500 block of West Third Street had been ransacked. The home’s owners, friends of the Sanchezes, were out of town and had allowed the Sanchezes to stay at the house while the Sanchezes were in Roswell to attend a funeral. In the early afternoon, the family had just returned to the house after the funeral and they were planning to load their belongings into their vehicle to head home to Denver City, Texas, when Saul Sanchez discovered at least one of the burglars inside the house carrying some of his family’s belongings. When he confronted the burglar in the hallway, Sanchez was shot and died there. His wife and two daughters had retreated to a nearby room.
On Nov. 28, Jimenez was arrested as he arrived for an appointment at the U.S. Probation Office in Roswell. The arrest warrant for Barnhill was served on him in the Chaves County Detention Center, where he was already being held for failure to appear in an unrelated court case.
Following their arrests in the murder/burglary case, Jimenez and Barnhill were being held at the detention center without bond pending their arraignments.