2013 South Valley homicides
|2013 South Valley homicides|
|Location||South Valley, New Mexico, United States|
|Date||January 19, 2013|
|Shooting, mass murder, familicide|
|Nehemiah Griego, 15|
On the night of January 19, 2013, five people were found dead inside a house by police in South Valley, New Mexico. A .22-caliber rifle was used to shoot a woman and three children, while an AR-15-style rifle was believed to be the weapon used to shoot an adult male when he came home later. A 15-year-old male, who was another member of the family, was arrested in connection with the shooting.
According to police, Nehemiah Griego first killed his mother with a .22 rifle at around midnight. His brother Zephaniah woke up and Nehemiah told him he had shot their mother, but his brother initially did not believe him until Nehemiah showed him her bloodstained face. He stated to police his brother became upset, and then Nehemiah proceeded to shoot him with the same rifle. He then went into the bedroom his two younger sisters shared and found them crying, and shot them both in the head. He then proceeded downstairs and waited for his father to return home, which he did at around 5:00 a.m., upon which his son shot him multiple times with an AR-15-type semi-automatic rifle with a scope.
In that statement he gave to police, Nehemiah said that he had been having suicidal and homicidal thoughts, that he had obtained the guns from his parents' closet, that he had mailed a photo of his dead mother to his girlfriend, and that he had intended to drive off and use the guns to kill more individuals and ideally die in a gun battle with police. Under the laws of New Mexico, those of his age charged with first-degree murder are tried as adults, though minors can no longer be given the death penalty or an automatic life-without-parole sentence. He had originally lied to his girlfriend and church officials that his parents were killed in a car accident, and later said that he discovered their bodies and drove off.
The five victims were a wife and husband and three of their children, including two girls and one boy. The man, 51-year-old Greg Griego, was a former pastor at the area's Calvary Church who was also a chaplain to the Albuquerque Fire Department, and his wife, 40-year-old Sarah Griego, were the father and mother of the alleged shooter, Nehemiah Griego. The children (nine-year-old Zephania, five-year-old Jael, and two-year-old Angelina) were Nehemiah's younger siblings. Greg Griego was the brother of New Mexico politician Eric Griego.
The suspect is 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego. He was booked into Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center and was charged with two counts of murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death. In January 2015, the case was at a standstill due to several complications, including continued mental health evaluations of Griego and the need to find a new judge for the case. Griego pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death in October 2015.
On February 11, 2016, Judge John J. Romero from the New Mexico Children's Court determined that Griego is "amenable to treatment" and will be sentenced as a juvenile. Griego, now 18, will likely be released from a youth detention facility when he turns 21. Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced that she would be appealing the ruling.
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