Richard Griego was bound over to District Court on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence on May 1, 2017. His case has essentially placed on pause since Nov. 15 2017, when competency was first raised as an issue.
According to the log of a Dec. 23, 2020 hearing, prosecutor Thomas Clayton said stipulating to Richard Griego’s lack of competency to stand trial would be “imprudent.”
Defense attorney Todd Farkas said the main question on competency is Richard Griego’s ability “to assist,” presumably in his own defense.
In New Mexico, a competency finding requires three things of a defendant, according to State v. Flores (2005):
Understand “the nature and gravity of the proceedings against”
Have a “factual understanding of the criminal charges”
In a Nov. 18, 2020 hearing, Farkas told the judge that Griego had previously been found not competent to stand trial and Clayton said it was the fifth evaluation. Two prior evaluations found him competent while three, including the only recently completed, found him not competent.
Griego has two other cases pending against him, both of which happened after he was jailed in the murder case, and both of which are rolled into the broader competency proceedings.
The first, from Aug. 3, 2018, resulted in two counts of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner. The second, on March 1, 2019, resulted in a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Jail staff told Marquez they found several items on Griego “during a shakedown of a housing pod.” The items were a hollowed-out bolt with a nut that had a nail pushed through the hollow end, about 4 inches in length, described as a shank, Marquez wrote. The second item was a handcuff key.
Clayton filed a criminal information on Oct. 19, 2018 in district court charging Griego with two counts of possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.
Las Vegas Police Officer Estevan Martinez wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant, on a charge of aggravated battery, that he was called to the San Miguel Detention Center on March 2, 2019, for a report of a fight involving Griego and Johnny Gallegos.
Martinez wrote that he watched a surveillance video from the incident and in it, he saw the two men got into a fight and Griego pushed Gallegos out of their cell and into the hallway with a crutch. Griego then allegedly beat Gallegos in the head and back with the crutch as Gallegos crawled away on his hands and knees. On the third strike, the crutch broke and Griego kept on hitting him with it, a total of eight times.
The two men were fighting after Gallegos tried to inject a crushed pill, he wrote.
On April 16, 2019, Clayton filed a criminal information in district court charging Griego with a single count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Alvin Adakai was found dead in his motel room on May 17, 2020.
Larrison Hunch’s girlfriend, Kerry Norton, told police that Hunch beat Adakai after he fell off of the bed during the night and after they had been drinking. Hunch was arrested on May 20 and denied hurting Adakai, according to court records.
On June 2, 2020, he was bound over to district court on charges of second-degree murder, robbery and tampering with evidence after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing or grand jury presentment on the condition that prosecutors dismiss, with prejudice, a charge of first-degree murder.
Det. Andrew Thayer wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant for Hunch that he was called out to the Lariat Lodge in Gallup where Alvin Adakai, 62, of Manuelito, had been found dead, on May 17, 2020.
At 10:28 a.m., when the manager Hitendrakumar Patel went to check the room, Adakai was lying on the floor in between the two beds. After grabbing his arm and receiving no response, he called police, Thayer wrote.
Officer Jared Albert called medics who declared Adakai dead at the scene, he wrote.
Thayer wrote that Adakai had several wounds including scabs, bruises and blood on his farms, face, legs, chest and side and dried blood on his hands and face.
“There was a dark discoloration of his skin from his chest cavity going up towards his neck and a discoloration of his skin the side of his body,” Thayer wrote. “Several dark spots were viewed on his neck.”
Yazzie told Thayer that Adakai’s death was suspicious but the pathologist who conducted the autopsy would contact him with more information, he wrote.
Thayer spoke to Hunch, who said he met Adakai with Kerry Norton and Adakai offered to rent a room so they could drink together and at some point during the night, Hunch tried to make ramen noodles for him, but he refused, and only drank during the night. Norton, 56, was Hunch’s girlfriend.
Hunch allegedly told Thayer that when the three went to sleep, Adakai took the bed nearest the door and during the night, rolled off the bed and Hunch put him back on the bed and when it happened a second time, Adakai told him he was more comfortable on the floor, Thayer wrote.
At 7 a.m., when they woke up, they went to get food and Adakai was still alive and appeared fine, he wrote.
After being told about the suspicious nature of the death, Thayer went back to talk to Hunch again.
“Larrison started off by apologizing to Affiant stating ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I didn’t mean to,'” Thayer wrote. “When asked about why he was apologizing, Larrison said he didn’t mean to give Adakai alcohol.”
Hunch appeared to be under the influence of alcohol so Thayer stopped questioning him. Thayer went to the dumpster at the motel and found a torn-up shirt in the trash. Hunch said it was his and that “sometimes I get rowdy,” Thayer wrote.
That same day, pathologist Satish Chundru told Thayer Adakai’s death was a homicide and his neck bones were fractured. Thayer went back and retrieved the bloody shirt, along with Det. Tasheena Wilson, and then spoke to Hunch again, who apologized again, for giving Adakai alcohol. Thayer had Hunch blow into a portable alcohol breath test machine, which showed a level of 0.14.
Thayer reviewed the surveillance footage and found four women, renting a nearby room, went to Adakai’s room the night he was last seen alive. All four were drunk and not interviewed, although Vernita Jackson told Thayer she thought he was sleeping and she just kicked his foot. The other three women were Alita Baker, Virginia Boyd and Rose Cadman, Thayer wrote.
“Because yesterday when we were in the room Larrison was almost like confessing to what happened in there that room,” she said, according to Thayer. “It’s all on the phone. Yeah. I recorded him yeah.”
On May 20, 2020, Gonzales interviewed Boyd who said she was in her motel room on May 19 when Kerry and Hunch came over to visit and that she recorded Hunch talking about beating Adakai.
Det. Philamina Chischilly listened to the recording and said Hunch admitted to “manhandling” Adakai but Hunch blamed Boyd and Jackson for manhandling him because they helped him get alcohol.
Kerry Norton interview
Thayer wrote he “interviewed” Norton on May 20 and she appeared sober. After reading her Miranda rights to her, she agreed to speak to him and Gonzales. Although she was read her Miranda rights, it is not clear if she was in custody.
He wrote that she said that they were together on May 16 and had been staying in room 19 and checked out at 10 a.m. She got into an argument with Hunch and Patel told Hunch to leave. Hunch went to go panhandle and Kerry saw Adakai, staying in room 15, and he invited her in, and then Hunch when he came back.
“Larrison, Adakai and Kerry were consuming vodka and malted beer,” Thayer wrote. “According to Kerry, Adakai gave Larrison his Visa debit card to purchase more alcohol.”
Hunch went to Albertson’s and bought three bottles of whiskey, which they all started drinking at 3 p.m.
“Kerry insisted no one came to room 15 until approximately 0700 hours on May 17, 2020,” Thayer wrote. “Kerry fell asleep while drinking Black Velvet. However, during the middle of the night, Kerry said she heard a loud noise.”
She saw Adakai was on the floor and Hunch picked him up and put him back on the bed. When this happened a second time, Hunch became “very angry.”
“Larrison began punching Adakai. Initially, Kerry minimized the violence and said Larrison hit Adakai about three times. As the interview progressed, Kerry admitted that she was very afraid of Larrison. Indeed, Kerry had a history of being a victim of multiple domestic violence crimes, including violence so severe that she was medivaced from Gallup to Flagstaff because of the severity of the injuries inflicted upon her by Larrison. On November 24, 2019, October 13, 2019, July 24, 2019, April 1, 2019, February 16, 2019, January 6, 2019, November 18, 2018 and August 17, 2018, the Gallup police department caused the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney’s office to file a variety of felony and domestic violence charges against Larrison Hunch. Kerry Norton refused to cooperate with law enforcement concerning these charges. Kerry Norton described many of the facts concerning these felony and domestic violence crimes and then, after being shown photographs taken by Affiant of Alvin Adakai’s deceased body, admitted that Larrison hit Alvin Adakai at least seven times over the course of ten minutes.”
Gonzales and Thayer then “confronted” Norton with the recording of Hunch saying he “manhandled” Adakai. Norton responded that Hunch began hitting Adakai after he fell off the bed the second time and that she did nothing to stop him because she is scared of him. She said Hunch took money from Adakai’s pants pocket after beating him and before they left and buried his debit card, Thayer wrote.
Larrison Hunch interrogation
On May 20, Thayer and Gonzales interrogated Hunch after he signed a Miranda rights waiver, Thayer wrote.
Hunch said Adakai appeared to be suffering from the coronavirus, he appeared weak and he probably died from it, Thayer wrote. Adakai did not look like anything happened to him when they left his motel room in the morning. He denied saying he “manhandled” Adakai.
Thayer and Gonzales left to retrieve the recording and when they came back, Hunch said he wanted a lawyer.
Detectives charged Hunch with an open count of murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.
Since then, there has been one motion to continue a trial setting that had been set for Oct. 2, 2020.
In the audio logs from a hearing on the motion to continue, on Oct. 5, 2020, Farkas said he has multiple homicide cases going to trial. Prosecutor John Bernitz said they will be able to work out a plea deal and will notify the judge when its ready.
According to his obituary, Alvin Adakai was the father to twin girls and he fluently spoke Navajo.
Born the son of Fred and Lenita Adakai of Manuelito, he was the 11th of 13 children. He was raised in Manuelito and attended the Indian boarding school in Theoreau until he went to Gallup High School, where he ran track and field and played football, according to his obituary.
He went to the Haskell Indian Nations University, where he obtained an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 1986.
“He returned to Manuelito and worked as a Chapter Manager from 1988 to 1994,” according to his obituary. “He believed in obtaining an education and instilled this importance in his girls. Alvin is survived by his twin daughters Elvina Lynn Adakai and Delvina Dee Adakai both of Albuquerque, NM and three grandchildren.”
LAS VEGAS, N.M. —Richard Griego‘s first-degree murder trial will likely not go to trial on Oct. 7, 2019, the date it had been scheduled for, after his attorney filed a motion questioning his competency to stand trial.
Farkas’ notice and motion come exactly one year after the case started moving toward trial after it was placed on hold the first time for the same issue.
On Sept. 11, 2018, according to the docket, an order was entered lifting the stay previously imposed on the case after the issue of competency was withdrawn by Farkas.
The case had been functionally paused the first time on Nov. 15, 2017, when Griego’s competency was officially questioned for the first time, although minutes from status hearings note that the attorneys and judge were aware that competency may be an issue.
On March 28, 2017, Richard Griego allegedly threw Jimmy Griego, 37, off of a bridge over the Pecos River on State Road 3, an allegation backed up by data from an ankle bracelet Richard Griego was wearing from a separate case which tracked his movements via GPS, according to court filings.
On May 1, 2017, Richard Griego was bound over to District Court on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence following a preliminary examination. On Nov. 15, 2017, his competency to stand trial was raised as an issue and proceedings were stayed until Sept. 11, 2018, when the Notice of Competency Issue was withdrawn.
A year later, on Sept. 11, 2019, competency was again raised as an issue and the case has been stayed.
Quintana told Montoya that she was driving south when she passed a white Ford truck heading the opposite direction. She described the driver as being angry.
“As the pickup continued passed (sic) her, she noticed a male in the bed area of the pickup,” Montoya wrote. “She recognized the male in the bed of the pickup as her cousin, who she identified as Jimmy Griego.”
Quintana kept the truck in her rear view mirror and she watched as the truck stopped. Her cousin was on his knees in the back and he appeared to be terrified.
The driver pulled over and stopped on the bridge, got out and walked toward the back of the truck with someone in his right hand.
Quintana then turned around and drove back toward the truck and watched as the man, allegedly Richard Griego, carried her cousin on his shoulder, walked to the edge of the bridge and threw him over, to the river below.
When she stopped, got out, and looked down, she saw her cousin’s body floating in the river and blood on the back of his shirt. She then recognized the driver was Richard Griego.
The agent then learned that Richard Griego was on probation and required to wear an ankle monitor with a GPS unit in it. The tracking device allegedly placed him at the river at 4:18 p.m., the day of Jimmy Griego’s death.
Quintana called 911 two minutes later at 4:20.
“A Field Examiner for the Office of the Medical Investigator found blunt force trauma and two lacerations to Jimmy’s head,” Montoya wrote. “I observed the injuries to Jimmy’s head, including an indentation to the left side of his head.”
He was charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence, according to the docket.
Las Vegas Magistrate Judge Christian Montaño held a preliminary hearing on May 1 and bound over Richard Griego on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. On May 19, in District Court, Richard Griego’s attorney Todd Farkas filed a motion in District Court to waive the arraignment and to enter a plea of not guilty.
In a May 1, 2017 call, he allegedly told his mother that someone else wanted to borrow his truck, that “those weren’t even my shoes and I wasn’t driving my truck.” His mother responded that they should not discuss “this stuff” on the phone.
Clayton wrote that the truck is an issue because Quintana saw him in his truck, on the bridge with the victim. A shoe print was also taken from the crime scene and it is a similar pattern to one seized from his house.
In a June 6, 2017 call, he talked to his mother about conversations with his attorney about getting out on bail.
“I feel this even more leaning towards, if I could get this to a justifiable homicide by citizen, protecting myself and family and property from all these conspiracies against me and stuff, will that make it easier to get a bond,” Clayton wrote, quoting from Richard Griego’s call.
In July 24 call, Richard Griego allegedly told his mother he could “beat these charges” because he didn’t “do” them and that he never hit Jimmy Griego with a weapon, but he didn’t want him “to come back and try to kill me, but he could have crawled out of the water and fucking not died. And let me alone. But no, they do, they do all this stuff. It’s all their fault that this stuff happened. Not my fault.” Clayton wrote, quoting Richard Griego.
Competency raised the first time
On Nov. 15, 2017, competency was formally raised in a written motion for the first time by Farkas. In an order on the same date, District Court Judge Gerald Baca wrote that Richard Griego had been found “in-competent” by Dr. Susan Cave and that the proceedings would be stayed pending a determination on his competency and the issue of his dangerousness.
According to notes from the June 14, 2017 status hearing, Farkas notified District Judge Gerald Baca has a documented history of mental illness and he needed to be assessed.
During a Aug. 16, 2017 hearing, prosecutor Thomas Clayton told Baca that Richard Griego sent a letter to State Police officers about an unrelated homicide, a theft and that there were also jail recordings he wanted the psychologist to listen to and that he agreed that he “may have mental issues,” according to the notes.
During an Oct. 11, 2017, hearing, Baca told the attorneys he was concerned about the discussions of competency when no motion about competency had been filed. Farkas replied that he was waiting for a report on his mental health, according to the notes.
On Sept. 11, 2018, Baca ordered that the case would start moving forward because Richard Griego’s attorney had withdrawn his claim that his client was not competent to stand trial. Farkas did not file a motion but a hearing on competency had previously been held on Sept. 7, 2018, and the records of that hearing were sealed.
No-bail hold lifted
On Aug. 1, 2018, Baca ordered Richard Griego be released if he could post a $50,000 cash bail and into the custody of a third party.
Prosecutors did not contest that finding until Sept. 25, when Clayton filed a motion for pre-trial detention.
“Upon information and belief, the family of the defendant has raised the funds to post the bond,” Clayton wrote.