Monday, September 25, 2023

Stabbings Claim Two Lives in Separate Moriarty-Area Murders

One Suspect Still on the Lam


It has been a violent couple of days in the Moriarty area as two separate stabbings left two men dead and leaving local law enforcement officers actively hunting one of the suspects.

Police and sheriff’s deputies continue to look for Steven Banda, 48, who is accused of stabbing to death Karl Fitzsimmons at a camper trailer outside of Moriarty on Sept. 3.

“My first concern was locating and detaining Steven Banda as nobody knew where he had gone after the stabbing,” Torrance County deputy Lt. K.R. Ballard wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit. “He was not located.”

A witness said that Fitzsimmons had allowed Banda to live with him at the trailer and on the day of the stabbing, there did not appear to be any friction between the two men, although Banda “was high and appeared to be having visual hallucinations,” the affidavit said.

But just about nightfall, there was a commotion near the front of the trailer and the two men “appeared to be fighting,” it said. Then “Karl emerged from the yard bleeding from a wound to his chest.”

Later, during a phone conversation between the witness and Banda, Ballard wrote that he overheard that Banda commented “that he (Karl) had either tried to kill or had killed his (Banda’s)three-year-old daughter.”

In the other stabbing Sept. 5, Moriarty police arrested Thomas Hamilton, 45, at Blackie’s Bar & Grill in Moriarty about 10 p.m. following a bar fight.

Gabriel Garcia, 26, of Moriarty, died at the scene after receiving several stab wounds, said Police Chief Adan Urbina.

Responding officers were able to arrest Hamilton, of Moriarty, on site, he said.

The incident started when Garcia was escorted out of the bar because he had become unruly after having too much to drink, Urbina said witnesses reported.

“A few guys got him out and he came back in,” the chief said. “A bar fight, it got out of hand, The suspect pulled a knife and he stabbed him a few times.”

Hamilton has been charged with an open count of murder, Urbina said, and remains in custody in the Torrance County Detention Facility.


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