Las Cruces police officer trial pushed back

Albuquerque, NM (KKOB) — The second-degree murder trial for Christopher Smelser, a former Las Cruces police officer charged in the choking death of a suspect will be delayed from July until January of next year.

The case against Smelser stems from the chokehold death of Antonio Valenzuela after he fled from a traffic stop on Feb. 29th of last year.

Valenzuela, had a warrant out for his arrest because of a parole violation and fought with Smelser and other officers who tried to detain him after he fled.

A police department trainer testified at a court hearing that Smelser held Valenzuela in the hold for too long.