Son of city manager charged in death of doctor

The 17-year-old son of a New Mexico city manager bludgeoned a local doctor to death with a pool cue, hid his body in a wood pile, then went to Burger King and shopped with the doctor's credit card, according to authorities.

San Juan County sheriff's officials say John Mayes, of Farmington, has been charged with first degree murder, aggravated robbery and other charges in the death of Dr. James Nordstrom, whose body was found behind his home on Friday.

According to an affidavit that was filed with the arrest warrant, Mayes told police he was running away from home Thursday night when he saw the man's secluded house and went in. He told police he hid in a bedroom at the house while the occupant watched television, then struck him about eight times with the thick end of a pool cue when he came into the bedroom.

The youth told police he wrapped the body in a rug, tried to clean up, then watched television and ate a tomato. Then he left the house and slept in the victim's truck for about four hours before returning to the residence and trying to bury the body. When he got tired of digging, the warrant says, the teen told police he dragged the body to a wood pile.

Mayes is the son of City Manager Rob Mayes.

During a court hearing Monday, the younger Mayes was ordered held at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center. He was represented by Stephen Taylor of the public defender's office. Taylor did not immediately return a call for comment on the case.

Mayes' family released a statement to the Farmington Times over the weekend, saying there "are no words that could possibly express our grief, sorrow, and remorse to the family and loved ones of Dr. Nordstrom. We could never have imagined, 12 years ago, when we left a Ukrainian orphanage hoping to provide a new life for a 5-year-old little boy, that such tragic events, bringing unspeakable pain to so many, could have occurred. We could never condone or excuse these actions; however, we will always love John and he remains our son. We continue to fully cooperate with the investigation and adjudication of this matter to its fullest."

Prosecutors will have to decide whether to charge him as an adult, as New Mexico gives district attorneys the authority to prosecute anyone over 14 in adult court.

The newspaper reported the youth had a previous run-in with the law.

On Sept. 4 and 5, 2010, Mayes broke into several businesses and residences in a two-day crime spree, according to police records. Charges were dismissed when Mayes was accepted at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell.

Upon his release from the military institute this summer, Mayes' family, in an effort to secure intensive residential treatment in a structured therapeutic environment, decided to send the teen to the New Mexico Boys Ranch in Belen, a family spokesman told the newspapers. He was on break from the New Mexico Boys Ranch this past week and was due to return next week.