Detention ruling stands for Larkin murder suspect

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 10/3/19

Taos District Court Judge Jeff McElroy has confirmed that a temporary decision last week to detain the man accused of killing Patrick Larkin pending trial is his final ruling.

Following a lengthy …

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Detention ruling stands for Larkin murder suspect

Posted

Taos District Court Judge Jeff McElroy has confirmed that a temporary decision last week to detain the man accused of killing Patrick Larkin pending trial is his final ruling.

Following a lengthy detention hearing last Wednesday (Sept. 25), McElroy said he would take two additional days allowable under state law to review an extensive body of evidence suggesting that Gregg Steele, 51, shot and killed Larkin, 63, early the morning of Aug. 27 in Llano Quemado.

The defendant’s private defense counsel – represented by the Alan Maestas Law Office in Taos – argued that Steele had admitted to his landlord he killed Larkin in self-defense after the popular coffee shop owner came onto his property firing a .22 rifle at him. The state, on the other hand, submitted 27 exhibits indicting a history of harassing and threatening behavior on the part of the defendant, including at least two threats to commit murder.

Steele was charged last month with second-degree murder, armed robbery and two counts of tampering with evidence. The charges were filed two weeks after Larkin was reported missing. Larkin’s body was found 1.5 miles west of where he lived with two gunshot wounds – one to the knee and another through the chest.

Steele had been living on property adjacent to Larkin’s over the summer. The state said interviews conducted with area residents revealed the two men had developed an ongoing dispute over Steele’s dog crossing into Larkin’s property and harassing his goats, one of which was found mauled to death the morning Larkin went missing.

Not long after midnight the day after Larkin’s body was found, a Taos County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested Steele for resisting arrest and driving with an open alcohol container.

The 51-year-old was also later charged with two counts of receiving or transferring stolen vehicles and two counts of altering VIN numbers. While searching the property where Steele had been living for evidence of Larkin’s disappearance, New Mexico State Police Investigators found two stolen trailers with their VIN numbers allegedly scratched off.

A scheduling conference to determine future hearings in Steele’s murder case is set for Oct. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in district court.

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