HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – Trial has begun for Alexis Avila, a Hobbs teen accused of throwing her newborn baby in a dumpster. Avila is facing one count of attempted first degree murder (willful and deliberate), or, alternatively, one count of of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm.
“What you’re going to hear through the course of this trial is the significance of the phrase, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,'” said Mark Probasco, a prosecutor for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. “You will actually be able to view for yourself, the defendant, Ms. Alexis Avila, committing this crime.”
After selecting a jury Tuesday morning, opening statements began around 1:50 p.m. While prosecutors emphasized video surveillance capturing Alexis Avila disposing of her newborn, Avila’s defense argued that there is a large difference in how they interpret the evidence.
“The defense isn’t going to be asking you [jurors] to find [Avila] absolutely not guilty, we’re going to be asking you to hold her accountable for something, for her actions,” said Raymond Conley, a defense attorney for Alexis Avila. “But, not for what they’ve charged her with.”
The case unfolded in January of 2022 after police were called to a dumpster at the Broadmoor Shopping Center in Hobbs. Three people who had been digging through the dumpster found the child in a trash bag, alive with an umbilical cord still attached.
Woman who found baby testifies
The three people who found the baby were among five witnesses who testified Tuesday. Michael Green, Hector Jasso and April Nuttall all shared similar stories of finding the child after hearing a noise coming from a dumpster they were looking through. While Jasso and Green initially thought the child may have been “a cat or a dog,” Nuttall testified that she was the one who determined it was child that had been left in the dumpster.
“I said that don’t sound like no cat or dog, and I ripped the bag open, I said, ‘oh my freaking God, it’s a baby!'” Nuttall testified Tuesday. “He could barely even cry, he was so horse and just so freezing cold, I was warming his little arms up.”
Nuttall described her instinct to care for the boy after finding him.
“I’m trying to move him and Hector said, ‘don’t touch him!’ – I said, ‘the heck if I won’t!’ – I picked him up, I grabbed his little neck and the body, he was wrapped up in a red towel, and yeah, he could hardly even cry,” Nuttall said. “We were all freaking out by then, and I had to yell at Hector like five times to call the police.”
Jurors also heard testimony Tuesday from a store owner who’s security cameras captured the entire incident. They also from a Hobbs Fire emergency services workers who was among the first to medically evaluate the child. The boy is still alive, and now is in the care of other relatives.
“We stimulated the patient, like tried to get a reaction, yeah, we did that and initially on scene we didn’t get much of a reaction,” said Caleb Shearer, a EMS Technician for Hobbs Fire. Shearar testified that as crews got closer to the hospital, the boy started to “pink up” from being a blue color.
The trial nearly got off to a bumpy start before opening statements began. After being questioned by both sides and seated on the jury, one juror subsequently asked for translation services. Judge William Shoobridge dismissed the juror shortly after, raising concerns about the jurors understanding of prior vior dire proceedings.
Trial is expected to resume in a Lovington courtroom Wednesday around 8:30 a.m. KRQE News 13 is expected to continue livestreaming coverage of the trial on KRQE.com.
Leading up to the trial, Avila’s attorney tried to have the venue moved from Lea County to Lincoln County. The attorney argued that due to the extensive media coverage, Avila would not be able to get a fair trial.
However, Judge William Shoobridge disagreed, saying the defense did not present testimony or specific documentation showing an impartial trial is not possible in Lea County. The trial is expected to last through the end of the week.