Hearing held in homicide case

ALAMOSA — Alleged to have helped move Floyd Dale McBride when he was still alive and bury him after he bled to death from a gunshot wound, Kelvin “K-Dog” Ruybal, 34, of Manassa, appeared for a preliminary hearing before Alamosa County Judge Daniel Walzl on Friday.

After hearing testimony from Alamosa Police Officer John Vasquez, who investigated the McBride homicide while serving with the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office, Judge Walzl found probable cause to bind Ruybal’s case over to district court on Tuesday, April 18.

Ruybal’s charges include manslaughter, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping.

Alleged to have fired the shot that would ultimately prove fatal for McBride, Lonnie Cooper, 43, is charged with murder and numerous other charges in relation to the June 23, 2016 shooting and death of McBride, 52. Cooper allegedly shot McBride in retaliation for McBride stabbing one of Cooper’s sons, Brian, within the 24 hours preceding the shooting. The son survived and is charged, along with other members of the Cooper family, in helping to plot revenge against McBride.

According to what witnesses told Vasquez, Ruybal was not present for the actual shooting but was summoned by Cooper afterwards to help move McBride from the Old Airport Road (County Road 110) residence where he was shot to the Cooper residence on County Road 103. After McBride died, Ruybal allegedly transported him again, this time to Conejos County where Ruybal helped bury him.

McBride’s body was later dug up and reburied in a remote rugged area of Costilla County, Vasquez related to the judge on Friday. Vasquez said McBride’s body was exhumed from the Conejos County site and reburied elsewhere because Cooper did not trust Ruybal not to snitch.

Judge Walzl saw photos of McBride’s body after it was recovered in Costilla County where he had been wrapped in chicken wire and a tarp and buried in a shallow grave. He saw photos of both of the burial sites as well as the van McBride had been transported in. The judge said based on the evidence he was shown and the testimony from Vasquez, he found probable cause to forward Ruybal’s case to district court.

Arguing the prosecution’s case during the preliminary hearing on Friday was Assistant Attorney General Ashley McCuaig. Attorney David Roth is representing Ruybal in this and other cases.

During the preliminary hearing on Friday, Vasquez recounted to the judge what various witnesses had told him regarding the events of June 23, 2016 as they related to Ruybal. According to what the witnesses told Vasquez, Ruybal arrived with his girlfriend (whom authorities have warrants out for but have not yet been able to locate) in his own vehicle after McBride was shot and assisted in removing McBride, who was still alive at that point, from the scene of the shooting. Witnesses told Vasquez that McBride was either drug out of the house on a piece of carpet or rolled up in it and placed into a van where some of the seats had been removed to accommodate him. Ruybal allegedly helped remove the seats and place McBride into the van and then put the van’s seats and the piece of carpeting in his truck. (Vasquez said the piece of carpeting and van’s seats were never recovered.)

Ruybal then allegedly followed Cooper to his residence on County Road 103.

“Dale McBride died at County Road 103 within the van the defendant helped load him into,” Vasquez said.

In addition to the testimony of those who were there, Vasquez testified there was evidence of blood smears in the van indicating McBride moved to lock the doors before he died and broken glass that supported witnesses’ statements that Lonnie Cooper’s son Devin had to subsequently break a window out of the van to get in.

Vasquez showed the judge photos of that evidence taken after the van was recovered from the San Acacio property of a man who had dated Lonnie Cooper’s mother for many years.