A key witness in a first-degree murder case cannot be found with less than two weeks before the trial is slated to begin, and he could be in hiding because of his own arrest warrant in an unrelated felony shoplifting case.
Eric Matthew Lynn is named in a warrant issued when he skipped out of sentencing on charges filed against him in 2021. But the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and surrounding law enforcement agencies are more interested in finding Lynn right now to serve him with a subpoena to testify at the upcoming trial of Roger Wilson who shot Jose Daniel Arvizu in 2017.
Wilson admits shooting Arvizu, with whom he had a contentious relationship, but insists his actions around 1 a.m. June 22, 2017 were in self-defense. Lynn testified at the first trial about being only a few hundred feet away when Arvizu was shot.
A jury convicted Wilson in 2020 of premeditated murder but that verdict and the life sentence which went with it were overturned earlier this year due to problems with instructions Judge Timothy Dickerson provided to jurors. A new trial is slated to begin Aug. 16
The Cochise County Attorney’s Office filed a motion earlier this month certifying that Lynn remains a material witness in Wilson’s case and his testimony is needed in the new trial.
“Eric Lynn is a necessary and material witness in this matter,” Chief Deputy County Attorney Lori Zucco advised Dickerson. “Eric Lynn was one of the first people to encounter the victim after he was shot.”
The only problem, according to Zucco, is that law enforcement officials have been unable to locate Lynn to serve the trial subpoena and execute the failure to appear warrant in his shoplifting case.
Yet even if Lynn is served the subpoena, Zucco believes he will fail to show up to testify. Therefore, she is seeking a court order requiring Lynn be brought before
the court “to undertake written conditions necessary to ensure his attendance at trial.”
Such conditions could include holding Lynn in jail until the trial unless he posts a bond which would be forfeited if he fails to testify. And if all else fails, Zucco has asked Dickerson to allow jurors in the new trial to hear Lynn’s recorded testimony from Wilson’s 2020 trial.
Lynn, who has a history of homelessness, is not a stranger to being the subject of an arrest warrant.
Minutes after Arvizu was shot, Lynn was found hiding under a bed in the nearby home of a friend, the same home Arvizu staggered to after suffering a shotgun wound to the chest outside the Hereford home of Wilson’s mother. At the time, Lynn was wanted in connection with a felony drug case.
Then in 2019, Lynn once again hid when the CCSO lead investigator attempted to serve him with a subpoena for Wilson’s first trial. It took the threat of arrest to get Lynn to accept the subpoena, according to Zucco.
That same investigator, Sgt. Todd Borquez, is experiencing similar difficulties this time around, Zucco told the judge.
“Sgt. Borquez has been actively trying to serve Mr. Lynn with a trial subpoena for at least two weeks,” she wrote in a motion, noting Borquez has asked local law enforcement agencies for help locating Lynn. “The State has also asked certain street crimes officers to actively seek out Mr. Lynn, following up on leads from reliable sources/databases, with no luck.”
Wilson’s trial is expected to run three weeks. Anyone with information as to Lynn’s whereabouts can contact CCSO at 520-432-9502.