Clovis murder suspect changes story

August 1, 2012 12:09:05 AM PDT
A Clovis man's changing stories couldn't convince a judge that he was not guilty of murdering his girlfriend.

The case started as a suicide investigation in Clovis last year. Charles Rector reported it that way when he called 911. But police say his story changed the next day.

Rector's story changed the day after Christine Baker was shot to death, just as police were about to give him a lie detector test.

This quiet Clovis apartment complex exploded in violence last April when Rector and his girlfriend of less than a year got into one final argument.

"He was upset over the fact that she had been smoking marijuana in front of his grandchild," said Clovis police officer Lonnie Amarjan.

What happened next led Rector into court to face murder charges, but his arrest didn't come immediately. Rector originally told police that Baker shot herself as their argument ended, and officers found the gun next to her on a bedroom floor.

Police asked to question him again the next day and that's when they say Rector admitted he had lied. But he still didn't take responsibility for the shooting. Investigators say he told them he only meant to fire off a warning shot, but mistakenly shot too soon.

"As he got towards the head region of the body, it went off," Amarjan said Rector told him. "He pulled the trigger and shot her in the head."

Rector's attorney argued the evidence actually shows his client had no intention to kill Baker -- that it was just an accident -- and he asked the judge to reduce the charges to manslaughter. But Judge Kent Hamlin didn't buy Rector's second story any more than police bought his first.

"A person who accidentally shoots someone doesn't normally stage a suicide which is very clearly what happened here," the judge said.

Judge Hamlin ruled Tuesday there is enough evidence for Rector to stand trial for murder. He's due back in court in two weeks.