DA appoints special prosecutor in school shooting case; cites conflict of interest

Posted at: 01/17/2014 2:29 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

ROSWELL, N.M. -- The district attorney for Chaves County has decided to conflict the Roswell middle school shooting case to another district attorney.

In a statement, Janetta Hicks said she was born and raised in Roswell, and all of her family lives in Roswell. Her nieces and nephews were inside the gym at the time of the shooting at Berrendo Middle School, and she said a photo of her devastated nephew is now being used in newspapers nationwide.

Hicks also said her niece's 911 call was on national TV news, and her fear was evident.

"A prosecutor has a responsibility as a minister of justice and not simply as an advocate," Hicks said in the statement. "These connections would render any handling of this matter by me subject to questions or criticism to the detriment of all the parties involved. My prosecution of the case would become an unwarranted distraction, which would not serve the victims, their families, the child, or the people of Chaves County and the Fifth Judicial District."

Hicks also knows the family of the 12-year-old suspect, Mason Campbell, and she said her nephew was friends with the boy.

Clovis District Attorney Matt Chandler has been appointed as the special prosecutor in the case.