FARMINGTON — John Mayes' murder trial is set to start Nov. 13 in Gallup and is expected to last eight days.
District Judge William Birdsall set the trial date last week in an order that also gave his ruling on several pretrial motions.
On Aug. 8, Birdsall granted the defense motion for a change of venue, which was filed after a juror questionnaire revealed that the majority of prospective local jurors said they already believe Mayes was guilty. During that hearing, Birdsall also postponed the trial, which had been set to begin Aug. 20 in Aztec.
Mayes, 19, is charged with an open count of murder and other charges for the death of Dr. James Nordstrom. Nordstrom was bludgeoned to death in his Farmington home on June 10, 2011. His body was found the next day, buried under a wood pile in his backyard in Farmington's Foothills neighborhood.
In his order setting the trial date, Birdsall also ruled on a handful of pending motions.
He granted defense motions asking the state to provide forensic evidence from Nordstrom's computer and information about medications found in Nordstrom's home.
Birdsall denied a defense motion to prohibit information about Mayes' behavior after Nordstrom's death to be mentioned during trial. Specifically, Mayes' attorneys tried to prevent prosecutors from introducing evidence that Mayes watched pornography and masturbated after Nordstrom was killed.
Mayes' attorneys said the evidence would be scandalous and distract jurors.
"The evidence is sensational and potentially shocking," Mayes' attorney, Jeffrey Buckels, said in the motion. "There is great danger the jury will see Mr. Mayes as a 'sick pervert' or 'deviant' who must be restrained by incarceration, with scant regard for the burden of persuasion or the standard of proof."
Prosecutors said the evidence contradicts the defence's claims that Mayes acted in self-defense.
Birdsall said the evidence is relevant and not "unduly" prejudicial.
Birdsall also ruled that the state cannot introduce allegations that Mayes tried to escape from the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center after his arrest. According to court documents, the only exception could be if that information were used to rebuke the attempts of Mayes' attorneys to tell the jury that Mayes is non-violent.