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Defendant takes stand in triple-murder trial in Las Cruces

The man charged with the shooting deaths of three people near Las Cruces in 2010 took the stand in his own defense on Tuesday.

Eugene “Gino” Ferri testified that he had nothing to do with the deaths of Gille Delisle, Helga Delisle, and Peter Weith.

The homicides took place three years ago in Mesilla Hills, near Las Cruces. The defenseon Tuesday showed a series of receipts and phone records as evidence that Ferri was somewhere else at the time of the homicides.

Investigators allege Ferri shot Gille and Helga Delisles and their business partner, Peter Weith, the night before they were supposed to appear at a court hearing. The four were involved in lawsuits against each other for large amounts of money and property.

Last week, the state’s key witness, Ricky Huckabay, testified he dropped Ferri off at the Deslisles’ home the day of the murders.

Huckabay said he was renting property from Ferri for months before the murders. Huckabay said he and Ferri had become good friends.

Huckabay also testified that Ferri bragged about committing the murders.

Ferri’s attorney Gary Mitchell asked Ferri if he ever told Huckabay he committed the homicides. Ferri said no. Ferri denied all of Huckabay’s testimony, adamant that he never met Huckabay that day and was with his mother and his accountant at different parts of the day.

Ferri’s mother and accountant took the stand earlier in the day to testify he was with them.

The case is being tried by prosecutors from the Otero County District Attorney’s office because there was a conflict of interest with the Dona Ana County district attorney.

Former Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando is a special prosecutor in this trial.

Huckabay said Ferri would keep tabs on Gille Deslisle before the homicides.

Orlando got Ferri to admit he paid an ex-Verizon Wireless employee to get access to Gilles Deslisle’s phone bills.

Ferri also admitted to lying while under oath during previous hearings for divorce bankruptcy.

“So you admit you’ll use people to get what you want?” Orlando asked.

“As everybody does,” Ferri replied.

“And you’ll lie to get what you want?” Orlando asked.

“I’ll lie to protect what’s not right,” Ferri said.

Ferri also said he had nothing to gain from killing the victims.

Ferri was arrested on April 8, 2011 in El Paso, Texas and was charged with concealing encumbered property after authorities said they discovered he had $1 million worth of animal trophies in his possession.

Dona Ana County Sheriff’s officials said the weapon that was used in the shooting deaths was a Cobray SW 9 mm semiautomatic gun — a weapon described by a sheriff’s sergeant as being similar to an Uzi. Officials said the weapon was found in the septic tank at La Llorona Park in Las Cruces, N.M. in the weeks before Ferri’s arrest.

Dona Ana County sheriff’s deputies found the bodies of Gilles and Helga Delisles, along with Peter Weith, shot to death inside the Delisles’ Mesilla Hills home on the morning of April 15, 2010. Sheriff’s officials said Gilles was found face down in the kitchen with several gunshot wounds, his wife was found five feet away with a gunshot to the head, and Weith was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a bathroom at the south end of the home.

Sheriff’s deputies said the homicides happened on or about April 14, 2010.

Orlando told ABC-7 in 2011 that Huckabay met with Ferri the night of April 14, 2010, and dropped Ferri off at the Delisles’ home before the witness left the scene.

Huckabay met with Ferri later that night and said Ferri was driving the Delisles’ white Pathfinder, according to Orlando. Orlando said Ferri then instructed Huckabay to follow him and they left the Pathfinder in front of the sheriff’s office where it was discovered days later.

Orlando said Huckabay and Ferri talked later that night and that Ferri told the witness that what he did at the Delisles’ home “felt good to him.”

Court documents from 2008 state Gilles Delisle represented Weith in a bankruptcy case involving Las Cruces resident Carol Ferri. According to case records, Carol’s son, Gino, controlled her finances, and owed as much as $1.3 million to Weith for three investment properties.

Days before investigators found the bodies of the Delisle and Weith, a judge agreed to change Carol Ferri’s bankruptcy claim from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation, according to documents. It was a request Delisle made on behalf of Weith.

Testimony concluded on Tuesday. Closing arguments begin Wednesday morning.

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