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Las Cruces man sentenced to 45 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend

Third Judicial District Attorney of New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and dragging her body into a car in full view of neighbors was sentenced to 45 years in prison Tuesday.

On October 12, 2023, a jury found 45-year-old Steven Valdez guilty of murdering Brittany Skaggs in February of 2022.

ABC-7 covered this murder when it happened. You can read our initial reporting here.

The jury also found Valdez guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer.

Police found Skaggs dead inside her car at a trailer park on the 2200 block of Doña Ana Road on February 23, 2022. She had suffered a single gunshot wound to her abdomen. When the officers arrived, they saw Valdez ride away on a motorcycle. Skaggs' friend told investigators that Skaggs had gotten into a fight with Valdez, who she claimed had beat her.

"It was at that time that Valdez entered the home, the witness confronted Valdez and he hit her with the butt of his handgun," a spokesperson with the Third Judicial District Attorney of New Mexico explained. "Then Valdez chased Skaggs into the back bedroom where she pushed him attempting to leave when Valdez fired the handgun five times at Skaggs, hitting her in the arm and in the abdomen. Then Valdez located the witness and pointed the gun at her. She pleaded with him, not to shoot her.  The witness then saw him drag Skaggs out and placed her into her vehicle and left the scene. 911 audio was played at the trial, detailing the witness’ testimony."

Las Cruces Police officers later found Valdez, still riding his motorcycle, and chased him through the city. Court officials say he was traveling at speeds over 100 mph. He crashed the motorcycle and was arrested.

"Valdez has a history of criminal behavior and Domestic Violence," the D.A. spokesperson explained. "Domestic Violence help is available for anyone experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence through La Piñon Sexual Assault Recovery Services 24 Hour Crisis Hotline 575-526-3437."

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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