Albuquerque Journal

Suspect in slaying ruled competent to stand trial

Defendant in Las Vegas killing got mental health treatment

- Copyright © 2021 Albuquerqu­e Journal BY ISABELLA ALVES

SANTA FE — After nearly a year of evaluation­s and treatment, a man accused of killing a homeless Las Vegas man has been found competent to stand trial.

Seig Chavez, 41, was charged with firstdegre­e murder and tampering with evidence more than a year ago in the August 2019 killing of William “Skip” Smith. Soon after court proceeding­s began in February 2020, competency evaluation­s were ordered in his case.

Chavez was found to be incompeten­t to face his criminal charges after his arrest and was ordered to undergo mental health treatment for a year.

On Feb. 2, state District Judge Flora Gallegos remanded the case back to San Miguel County Magistrate Court after Doug Davis, a doctor with the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute, found Chavez to be competent.

Now, Chavez’s case is back in 4th Judicial District Court. He entered a not guilty plea in the case Monday morning.

In August 2019, Las Vegas police officers were sent to the alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, where they found Smith’s body, according to court documents. A person saw Smith in the alley the night before but didn’t call police because he thought Smith was passed out drunk. But when the same person saw Smith lying in the alley the next morning, they knew something was wrong and alerted law enforcemen­t.

Police found that Smith had been stabbed several times, and there were spots of blood trailing down the road. They checked local business security video and discovered that Smith was with Chavez the night of his death, court documents say. A worker at a nearby restaurant was able to identify Chavez out of a photo lineup as the person Smith left the business with.

In an interview with police, Chavez said he picked Smith up because he likes to help homeless people with rides, food and cigarettes, according to court documents. Police obtained search warrants for Chavez’s vehicle and say they found the upholstery in his truck and several knives that had traces of Smith’s blood.

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