Hobbs Police Investigate First Murder of 2009

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, NEW MEXICO--Given the nature of the case, Hobbs Police are hoping this doesn't get their year started on the wrong foot.

"We only made it to the 5th without a murder here in Hobbs, so hopefully you're right, it doesn't set a tone for anything,"  Officer Mike Stone, Public Information Officer for the Hobbs Police Department, said.

31-year-old Kaci Easter of Hobbs and 34-year-old Billy Maples of Carlsbad are behind bars, charged with the murder of 26-year-old Jennifer Cox of Carlsbad.

"We particularly don't have a motive in this case, but I will tell you that methanphetamines were involved in this crime," Stone commented.

Everything started when Easter herself reported a dead body in the garage of the home on 335 W. Taos on Monday.   When police went to investigate they found not only the body in the garage, but Maples inside the home.  

Stone says, that lead to a stand-off with police, "At that point, he closed the door and our S.W.A.T. team was called out.  We obviously secured the whole area."

Maples surrendered an hour later.   Now, he and Easter are charged with first degree murder, tampering with evidence, and false imprisonment.  They are being held in Hobbs City Jail on a little over $1 million bond.

Despite Monday's incident, Officer Stone says the neighborhood is not much different than any other part of Hobbs, "We get the routine calls over in that neighborhood, people speeding through the neighborhood, domestic incidents, people arguing, that type of thing."

Stone goes on to say, they are following some leads and people are still being interviewed in what some call a suspcious case, "Until you get to the bottom of the investigation, it's a suspicious death, obviously and considered a homicide."