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Key witness found two days after murderer strikes plea deal

Kai Porter
June 16, 2017 06:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Police arrested Deamber Yonker on a material witness warrant near Central and Coors last week, just two days after her boyfriend, Darrius Valles, signed a plea deal in his murder case.

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"Was justice served? Not really," said Lena Cochran, the mother of Jerry Jennings.

Police say Yonker saw Valles shoot Jennings during a fight over a broken window at a southeast Albuquerque apartment back in January 2016. But when Yonker, the only witness, disappeared in late May, prosecutors decided to offer Valles the plea deal believing Yonker wouldn’t be found.

Valles signed the plea deal on June 5, and police arrested Yonker on June 7. Valles pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in exchange for a seven-year prison sentence as part of the plea deal.

"They know he killed my son and he basically got away,” Cochran said. “Seven years for killing someone, a good guy, to me I'm not happy with that."

The district attorney’s office said prosecutors would have pushed for a nine-year prison sentence, or more, if Yonker had been available to testify.

It’s unclear where Yonker was or how police found her. The district attorney’s office said it is considering whether or not to charge Yonker.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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