No Charges In NM Homicide

June 5, 2017

All Posts, News

No Charges In NM Homicide

The New Mexico Motorcyclist Rights Organization and the family of 58-year-old Earl “Payaso” Roybal reacted furiously late Friday when the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute a man named James Morales. Morales shot and killed Roybal at the Hose It Car Wash in Albuquerque on March 26.

Roybal was a veteran of both the Army and the Navy and a patch holder in the Onagers Motorcycle Club.

Morales claimed he acted in self defense and District Attorney Raúl Torrez agreed with him.

Prosecutor Says

The official “Prosecutorial Review and Evaluation” of the “Shooting of Earl Roybal by James Morales” asserts:

“On March 26, 2017, at around 5:00 p.m. Earl Roybal and his girlfriend, Libby Miller, were washing and drying Roybal’s motorcycle in one of the drive-in bays at the Hose-It carwash on Coors Boulevard NW in Albuquerque. James Morales, who was waiting to wash his vehicle at the carwash, approached Roybal to find out how much longer Roybal would be. After Morales returned to his car Roybal left the car wash bay and walked about two-thirds of the way to Morales’s vehicle. Morales got back out of his vehicle and the two men had an argument in the parking lot. During the argument Roybal struck Morales in the face, cutting his chin. Morales then drew a gun from a concealed holster and pointed it at Roybal. Roybal, who had an unconcealed gun holstered on his belt, said something like ‘everybody’s got a gun, I got a gun,’ and moved his arm toward his gun. At that point Morales fired three shots at Roybal. Morales called 911 to report the shooting and stayed on the scene for police to arrive. He was later taken into custody for questioning. Roybal died later at the hospital as a result of the gunshot wounds.”

The DA’s Office concluded “there is a very high likelihood that a reasonable jury would be required to acquit Mr. Morales of any homicide or other violent felony charges. In other words, prosecution of any charges against Morales very likely would fail. Accordingly, the District Attorney has determined that prosecution of Morales is not warranted.”

Family Says

Both the NMMRO and Roybal’s family responded to the decision with their own press releases.

An attorney for the family described Roybal’s death as a “murder“ and called the DA’s analysis “flawed.”

That release argued:

“The family of Earl Roybal…takes issue with the flawed legal analysis and reasoning behind the decision to let James Morales walk free after shooting Earl Roybal not once, not twice, but three times in the upper torso, when the evidence (captured on video and confirmed by eyewitnesses) unequivocally shows Earl had his hands up and was backing away from Morales at the time he was killed.

“That is NOT self defense – either on the facts or the law.

“In New Mexico, just like anywhere else, the killing of a human being is presumed to be unlawful. Although it is not unusual for a killer to try to justify his actions by claiming he was just protecting himself, simply asserting self defense does not and should not end the inquiry. For the murder of Earl Roybal to have been justified, there must be evidence that Morales was in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm, that he was in fact put in fear by the apparent danger of immediate death or great bodily harm, and that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have acted as Morales did. Without the existence of each and every one of these elements, there can be no self defense. The evidence in this case, which includes numerous and consistent statements from eyewitnesses as well as video footage from security cameras, strongly supports the contention that Morales was not in any immediate danger of death or great bodily harm when he shot Earl Roybal down in cold blood.”


Raymond Gallegos who is co-chair of the state motorcycle rights group called the decision not to prosecute Morales “disturbing.”

“The life of Earl Royal was valued at the cost of probability of conviction.” Gallegos wrote. “ In all cases there is a a probability for the courts decision to sway. This is why we elect highly skilled and competent attorneys to fight and work for justice in all cases. Not just the ones which we feel will result in an easy win.

“Once the evidence was made available to us, we were able to review and then consult with our legal counsel as well as other attorneys to develop a clear picture of what to expect. We remained in weekly contact with the DA’s office to stay informed and offer any assistance we could. All our legal reviewers reach the same conclusion. With a little work this case should result in criminal charges and with a high probability for conviction.

“We find it equally disturbing that the Albuquerque police department chose to release and fax to all local news media a supplemental report containing information from a possible Colorado criminal charge more than 10 years ago. This information was distributed just prior to the publicly scheduled memorial ride for Mr. Royal. We feel that this was an attempt to smear Mr. Royal in the media and cloud the facts which resulted in his death.

“We are expecting District Attorney Raul Torrez take a closer look and reopen this case for prosecution.”


24 Responses to “No Charges In NM Homicide”

  1. Joe Says:

    I’m sure that “2′ on the chest had a lot to do with for the police report to BE flawed. A lot of good that SYLB & “2” did him and a lot of good it’s doing for his club now.

  2. Va.Bob Says:

    First,condolences to the family and friends of Roybal.But who washes bikes at carwashes?Never seen it happen here.I don’t like anybody telling me to hurry up,either,but shit ,who takes his girlfriend to a carwash?It looks like hearing shit in front of his girlfriend had a lot to do with consequent events.Very preventable.Could there have been ethnic conflicts,i.e.Hispano vs Chicano,too?

  3. AZ MC Supporter Says:

    So the fuckin idiot gets out of his car to engage in a confrontation and escalates it until he murders a man washing his bike with his OL, and they don’t even bother to see what a jury may think about a man being killed over a car wash bay? It really is open season on bikers man… absolute bullshit.

  4. Dutchboy Says:

    @Ed, no, the “pussified ego challenged men” are scared of guns. Just like they are afraid of motorcycles, freedom, women, things that go bump in the night, et Al and the rest of creation. Most will be found on college campuses or the headquarters of the DNC. Recently they have been spotted wearing beards and plaid shirts. Some think this is so they will look “outdoorsy” like lumberjacks. I think it’s so they will look more like the bitch lesbians that run many of the college campuses and the DNC.

  5. Dutchboy Says:

    Well said Paladin.

  6. Paladin Says:

    The following comment is posted as a generalization regarding self defense and is not posted as an attempt to condone the actions depicted in the story at the top of this thread. My opinion on the above story? Both men are culpable. If both men had exercised better judgment, this story would not exist.

    That said:

    Age is the great debilitater. There comes a time when we reach an age where we’re too old to be subjected to and then expected to recover from a beating. The courts have held that there exists a disparity of force between a young assailant and his older victim. The courts have also held that even if unarmed, the younger assailant is a lethal threat due his superior strength and speed. Therefore, the courts have also held that an older victim is justified in using lethal force against his younger, unarmed assailant.

    I am at an age where I can no longer adequately defend myself in hand to hand combat. So, I choose hand to gun instead. However, with age comes perspective. With perspective comes the realization that not everything is worth fighting over. In fact, most things aren’t.

    Younger folks do need to keep a couple of things in mind: 1) those of us that are older, didn’t get to be older by acting stupid. 2) Just because we act peaceably doesn’t mean we aren’t still capable of extreme violence.


  7. Dutchboy Says:

    Johnny Rotten, thank you for your polite disagreement. That is how men should work out differences. Have I clocked some dumbasses over the years? Sure. Have I been clocked? Yep. Yet I see a lot of people here talking like this situation wasn’t “fair”. Of course it wasn’t “fair”, it is never “fair” unless your in a ring and not even then most times. To quote a better man than myself “Fair is a place you go to throw cow chips for distance, ain’t got squat to do with fighting.”. Put it this way, if I’m strapped I will go out of my way to not allow a situation to escalate. Sometimes it can’t be helped, that is why I would be strapped in the first place. I know that when angry and determined men fight the chance someone is going to the hospital or the morgue is high. Best to avoid it if possible. Not always possible but most often it is. Again, condolences to the family and friends of the fallen.

  8. Ed Says:

    Amazing how many bad asses there are with guns. Most carry them because they are pussified, ego challenge weak men with little boy maturity. All I can say is pay back will probably not be nice.

  9. Johnny Rotten Says:

    @ dutchboy


    listen to the call
    watch the vid.

    all i keep hearing is he HE HIT ME…

    not he pulled a gun, not he threatened me with a weapon

    HE HIT ME…
    i get it, hes most likely in shock..
    sounds very sheepish…

    perhaps he instigated it…
    even so…
    ya dont get pie eatered and have to shoot do ya?

    im an old fucker, well sorta…
    i enjoy tranquility…as much as i can get at least…
    i dont like to swap punches unless absolutely necessary
    my usual biggest concern is whats fer supper..
    i like it that way…

    its just a shame, and it seems we have more of these events every day…

    jus sayin

    and natch paladin

    as i lay my head down each night and reflect on the days actions
    be they good, bad,legal or otherwise…..

    i know i did the right thing

    and i sleep very well…

    respects to those deserving


  10. Moonshiner Says:

    Why I’m not a fan of open carry.
    And a club member never gets justice. RIP Earl Roybal.

  11. Steel Says:

    Just found a story as to maybe why the DA didn’t charge the shooter. He is an Air Force nuclear engineer.

    Something tells me the fix is in.



  12. Hermis Says:

    I’m thinking Morales must have seen Roybal’s “unconcealed holstered gun” before drawing his weapon. To me Morales should have been repeatedly hit in his cocksucker until rendered unconscious.

    Sounds like Torrez needs his cocksucker punched, repeatedly.

    Just my opinion.

    RIP Mr. Roybal
    Condolences to his family & brothers.

  13. Steel Says:

    Condolences to the family, friends and brothers of Mr. Roybal. A man’s life is lost by the impatience of another. DA too cowardly to pursue charges or is there some other reason? RIP Mr. Roybal



  14. Kentucky Rider Says:

    The fact that Morales got out of his car and approached Roybal tells me what kind of guy he is – impatient, impulsive, and a hothead. I can guarantee you he ran his mouth and, after getting his chin checked, pulled out his pistol and suddenly “feared for his life”. What a bitch. What a cowardly bitch.

  15. Aanon Says:

    Shorter version…. man and woman with dirty glide want shiny glide. Impatient man behind starts shit. Then gets hit. Not hard enough that he couldn’t talk tho. Pulls gun. Fella with the glide leverages, then gets shot. Impatient shit starting asshole walks. Other way around and man with glide would have been selling some soap and pimping nozzles ,on top of murder. I bet this guy was ” scared for his life” sir was washing his scoot. Wtf

  16. Aanon Says:

    Maybe out of line, maybe not. Gotta ask ourselves sometimes I suppose, when you take a man such as this out of this world: who’s gonna teach the right to their sons, grandsons, so on. Every MAN in this world, not just the black top but the world has a certain amount of pride. Albeit some moreso than others but a real man is proud. White pride,brown pride, Asian pride. I’m a proud white man, my son doesn’t wear pastels, dont shave shit but his face, and will gladly with pride I must ad, pick up what you’re wife dropped or grab a door because as I was taught, he is. Too many real men getting taken out on account of foolish pride….well that and the bitch mfers that can’t move a fist without a grip. Shameful. Rest in peace sir. I hope you got the wisdom out. To the guy that shot a man washing his scoot, with his woman in tow, well I bet you have lots of pastels. Fu. With a big black one the size of a freight train.

  17. Paladin Says:

    @ Johnny Rotten,

    What is legal isn’t always right. What is right isn’t always legal. And as always, long may you ride.


  18. Dutchboy Says:

    Without the video we only have the statements of witnesses and the defendant. As for the cries of coward, I remember a grey haired biker, many years ago, telling a much younger, stronger, faster, and aggressive man “Boy, I ain’t gonna fight you,”. What the younger man failed to notice, but everyone else did, was the grey hair’s right hand was inside his jacket. The old man wouldn’t fight the bully but he was about to bury him. Luckily cooler heads prevailed, the kid lived to be a dumbass another day and the old guy got to finish his beer in peace. Will I fight with my fists? If I must but I realize many men are beaten to death every year with fists. I doubt Morales wanted to shoot Roybal or he would have started firing when he cleared leather. Damned shame this man died. Damn shame everyone else, including Morales, has to live with how it went down. Killing ain’t easy and if you have one it will leave scars on your soul.

  19. Curbside Says:

    Excellent observation there, Paladin. In a truly just and moral world, the two would have settled the matter with their fists or, at bare minimum, waited for everyone to have a gun drawn before shooting at each other.

    Unfortunately, Roybal did what’s usually considered universally ignorant, which is fail to walk away when the impatient loudmouthed douchebag pulled a piece…and he took the room-temperature challenge in a situation where his killer will walk free.

  20. Johnny Rotten Says:

    inasmuch as i value your opinion paladin, and i truly do read your insights with validity…
    i will stand by my post….

    one drew…
    one called…
    one shot….

    it is what it is…
    i live 1/2 mile from a high crime area where men do not exist and gunplay is fervant
    men do not resort to such demeaning acts when confronted
    mr. roybal did not.
    he offered his fists
    he was confronted by a weapon, and proceeded to inform his opponent he to was armed, which it would seem to me would have been known well in advance due to the no conceal issue…
    but i digress…
    upon stating the squareness of the field, and possibly negating gunplay…in a mans eyes…
    the coward fired…

    maybe i think to much

    maybe not enough

    i jus know where i stand and how i act

    m.l.l.& r. to you and the regulars


  21. Paladin Says:

    Unfortunately, we’re not going to see the video from the security cameras. But, if the finding of the prosecutor is factual, Roybal’s arm movement toward his gun would have shown a willingness on Roybal’s part to draw his gun, thereby placing Morales in fear of immediate death or grave bodily injury.

    When one goes armed in society, one is held to a higher standard of care. As such, an armed individual may not escalate an otherwise none lethal confrontation into a deadly force encounter. One loses the mantle on innocence when one does the foregoing.

    Roybal allegedly escalated a verbal confrontation into a crime of battery by striking Morales in the face. Morales drew his concealed firearm, pointing it at Roybal in an attempt to end further battering. Roybal allegedly either purposefully or inadvertently moved his arm toward the exposed firearm worn on his belt, causing Morales to fear for his life, resulting in Morales shooting Roybal.

    It is worth noting that the “The DA’s Office concluded “there is a very high likelihood that a reasonable jury would be required to acquit Mr. Morales of any homicide or other violent felony charges.” In other words, the DA didn’t say Morales wasn’t culpable of any wrong doing, he simply said he didn’t see a high probability for a conviction, so he wasn’t going to file on Morales.


  22. Johnny Rotten Says:

    condolances to the brothers, family and friends of this honorable man…

    the supposed victim……

    another pussy who cant fight…

    the pussification trods forward

    we are so fucked

    respects to those deserving


  23. IronRider Says:

    So the Albuquerque police took the decision to release information to various media outlets about a charge Roybal had from 10 years ago? For What? Only thing I can see for the release of that is to quell dissent about the Albuquerque police’s investigation of the incident and to besmirch the reputation of Mr Roybal.

    So Morales thought his life was so in danger from that punch to the chin he took that he felt he needed to pull out a gun to which Mr Roybal showed that he too was armed but chose not to pull his weapon and even stated “so what I got a gun too” which Roybal never pulled but yet Morales thought he should fire his weapon?

    The fact that Morales pulled his weapon after taking a punch to the chin shows that he felt he needed to make an impression or imply to Roybal that he would shoot him. Period. Morales could have got back in his vehicle and locked the door if he was so afraid or Morales could have left the car wash altogether if he thought he was in such danger, but no he decided to pull his gun to show Roybal he meant business even though no where has it been reported that Roybal was continuing to go after Morales other than the initial confrontation.

    So if Roybal wasnt wearing a patch would the outcome be any different here in the Albuquerque police investigation? Would the DA see this case in the same light? Why did the Albuquerque police go out of their way to release information of a charge Roybal faced in Colorado some 10 years ago that has nothing to do with the case at hand?

    Would anyone care to bet that if this tragedy was turned around and it was Roybal who had shot Morales, that Roybal wouldnt be sitting in a cell right now facing a murder charge with no bail coming anytime soon because he belonged to an MC?

  24. Wayne Says:

    No one thumps anymore…..a shame.

Leave a Reply