May 082013

By Nick Worth
Jose Luis Valencia, 29, was sentenced to life in prison in Navajo County Superior Court on April 19 after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Jeffery Dean Durham, 37, of White Mountain Lakes.
In December of 2011 Navajo County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered Durham’s body in a home on Weber Road in White Mountain Lakes after being called to conduct a welfare check.
An investigation revealed that Durham had been in an altercation with Valencia, his roommate, the night before and that Valencia had fled the area. Deputies searched the area and found Valencia walking along Sil-ver Creek Canyon near Snyder Circle where he was arrested.
Valencia will serve a life sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections, without eligibility for pa-role. He was also found guilty of possession of marijuana and three counts of aggravated assault. He was sen-tenced to 1.5 years in the DOC for possession of marijuana and 15 years in the DOC for each count of aggra-vated assault, with credit for 487 days served for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently and to be followed by a term of community supervision equal to one day for every seven days served. He was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $4,974.68. Valencia was sentenced by Judge Higgins and was repre-sented by public defender Attorney Leonard Brown, with Deputy County Attorneys Patrick Zinicola and Michael Tunink for the prosecution.