New Mexico Casino Winner Violently Robbed, Suspects in Jail

Posted on: August 30, 2023, 03:32h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2023, 03:04h.

A man and woman remain incarcerated this week after they were arrested for the April pistol-whipping and holdup of a Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino winner. John Anthony Brinsfield, 49, and Jamie Marie Cowger, 46, both of Las Cruces, NM, were indicted on an aggravated robbery charge.

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, pictured above. A New Mexico gaming property winner was followed and later violently robbed at the location. (Image: TripAdvisor)

Police revealed that Cowger began to follow the unnamed victim after she won $3,500 at the New Mexico gaming property on April 30.

She left the casino about an hour after hitting the jackpot. The pair then tailed her nine miles to a hotel on South Desert Boulevard in El Paso, Texas. She had just parked her car at the hotel when she spotted another vehicle driving toward her in the parking lot.

Brinsfield then exited his vehicle and approached the victim before displaying a firearm and demanding her purse, which contained the $3,500 in winnings and another $700.

Rober Flees in Getaway Car

The victim asked Brinsfield to wait so she could remove a cell phone from the purse. Brinsfield then pointed the gun toward the left portion of her head and again ordered her to turn over the purse. He then allegedly shoved her onto the ground and struck her in the face with the gun, police said.

At that point, the victim let Brinsfield have the purse. He then fled to the awaiting vehicle, described as a Chevrolet Trailblazer, which a second person drove. Brinsfield’s face was covered with a black mask during the holdup, according to police.

The victim’s injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening. The hotel and casino provided police officers with surveillance video to help identify the suspects.

Arrests & Bond

Cowger, formerly a teacher in Las Cruces, was arrested on August 18 and booked at the El Paso County Jail. Her bail was set at $60K.

Last month, El Paso police arrested Brinfield after he was pulled over while he was a passenger in a vehicle carrying the wrong license plates. Police found 285 suspected fentanyl pills and a firearm in the vehicle, prosecutors said.

Brinsfield was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, according to the El Paso Times. He was booked at the El Paso Jail Annex with bail initially set at $400K. It was later lowered to $95K.

Before his arrest, Brinsfield was a self-employed construction worker.

The cases against both suspects were turned over to local prosecutors.