More competency tests ordered for Richard Griego, charged for death of Jimmy Griego

Richard Griego has been in custody since 2017
While in jail, he has been charged in two more cases

See the full case write-up or read previous stories on this case

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Four years and five competency evaluations after he was arrested on a charge of murder in 2017, Richard Griego is still being evaluated for his competency to stand trial.

Griego is accused of throwing Jimmy Griego, 37, off the bridge over the Pecos River on March 28, 2017, an allegation backed up by data from an ankle bracelet he was wearing for a separate case, and an eye witness account, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

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.

Mug shot of Richard Griego
Richard Griego

In New Mexico, a competency finding requires three things of a defendant, according to State v. Flores (2005):

  1. Understand “the nature and gravity of the proceedings against”
  2. Have a “factual understanding of the criminal charges”
  3. Be “capable of assisting in his own defense”

District Judge Gerald Baca ordered Griego be sent to the New Mexico Behavior Health Institute in Las Vegas to be further evaluated.

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.

No new court dates are set.

Possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner

Las Vegas Police Officer Caleb Marquez wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant that he was sent to the San Miguel Detention Center on Aug. 3, 2018, for a report of a prisoner who has a 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.

Aggravated battery

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.

Continue reading “More competency tests ordered for Richard Griego, charged for death of Jimmy Griego”

Richard Griego’s competency questioned by his attorney; case likely to be placed on hold

See the full case write-up here

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.

According to a public docket for the case, attorney Todd Farkas filed a “Notice of Competency Issue and Motion to Stay Proceedings” on Sept. 11, 2019.

Richard Griego

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.

Continue reading “Richard Griego’s competency questioned by his attorney; case likely to be placed on hold”

Christopher Pino: Daniel “Scooby” Arballo — 4-30-2017

  • Suspect: Christopher Pino, 52
  • Victim: Daniel “Scooby” Arballo
  • Charges: Voluntary manslaughter; originally Open count of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
  • Status: No contest plea to voluntary manslaughter
  • Sentence: 3 1/2 years
  • Date of incident: April 30, 2017
  • Agency: Albuquerque Police Department
  • Incident Location: Central Avenue and Solano Drive, Albuquerque
  • Magistrate case number: T-4-FR-2017-002578
  • District case number: D-202-CR-201701879

 

Summary

Allegedly tired of having his property stolen, Christopher Pino, 52, allegedly ran down homeless man Daniel Arballo and tried to run down his friend, Billy Harper, after he saw the pair with a set of speakers.

He was initially arrested on charged of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

On May 1, 2017, Arballo was pronounced dead and on May 4, an autopsy was conducted. After the autopsy, officers decided to charge Pino with murder.

On May 19, 2017, a grand jury indicted Pino on five charges, including second-degree murder.

In June 2018, Pino pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter with a sentence capped at six years. In August 2018, District Court Judge Cristina Jaramillo sentenced him to 3 1/2 years. He received credit for 197 days served.

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The incident

Mug shot of Christopher Pino
Christopher Pino

On April 30, 2017, officers responded to an alley at Central Avenue and Solano Drive. Daniel Arballo was immediately transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital for extensive injuries, Officer P. Moya wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

When Officers Israel Martinez and Lea Lopez first arrived, they thought it was a simple crash. While talking to the driver of a red hummer involved, Christopher Pino, Martinez was told that Pino was a suspect and he immediately read him his Miranda rights.

“Pino stated he was contacted by an unknown person who lives in the area,” Moya wrote. “The person stated there were two males taking stuff from his property, which is located at 3715 Silver SE. The building is an old church formally known as The Trinity Methodist Church. Pino decided to go to his property in hopes to stop the inviduals from taking his belongings.”

When he arrived, he saw two men in the alleyway carrying his radio.

“Pino then intentionally struck one of the males at approximately 20 miles per hour and was trying to hit the other male so they could be contacted by police when they arrived,” Moya wrote. “As he was attempting
to confront the other male, a crowd started to gather in the street. It was at this time Pino decided to leave the area.”

Homeless man Billy Harper’s view

Moya interviewed the other man, Billy Harper, who told him he was in the area when he saw his friend, Arballo, cleaning up weeds and branches from the church property.

“Scooby told Billy, ‘this was his people’s church,'” Moya wrote. “It was unclear when Billy decided to help him out but they
started to throw some trash and some branches inside the dumpster. They then obtained some speakers and while
in the process of walking those to the dumpster a red Hummer turned down the alley and accelerated.”

Harper estimated the Hummer to be going at least 40 mph.

“The driver then directed his attention towards Billy and told him, ‘you stealing from my church, you stealing from my church?'” Moya wrote. “He did this while shaking a shovel at him. The male was shaking the shovel at him while threatening to harm him. Billy stated he was only a short distance away, he estimated 15 feet.”

Shortly afterward, Harper alleged Pino left, then came back and threatened him again.

Seven Clover Security Guard Gregory Kreitman’s view

Seven Clover security guard Gregory Kreitman told Moya that he was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw two homeless men in the alley, shaking off jeans and throwing away trash.

Albuquerque, N.M., at Central and Morningside. Photo by Pom’/Flickr. CC BY-SA

“He then saw a red Hummer ‘fly’ down Solano and enter the alley and wreck his vehicle directly into the two males,” Moya wrote. “One was able to jump out of the way but the other was struck with the vehicle and went ‘flying.’ After the collision, the vehicle reversed and went after the other male.”

After the initial crash, Kreitman alleged, Pino started threatening to hit Harper with the car.

“Gregory then stood in front of the male to avoid him from being harmed,” Moya wrote. “The vehicle eventually drove off and turned east on Central and came back around on Silver to Solano. He continued yelling at the male, ‘You’re going to be killed, I’m going to kill you, you stole from me.'”

Pino allegedly stayed a few minutes before he heard sirens, then took off and he said he never saw Pino get out of the vehicle, contrary to Harper’s statement.

“Gregory added the driver kept telling the other male to come out into the road so he can hit him with his car,” Moya wrote.

Seven Clover employee Jamilex Delgado’s statement

Jamilex Delgado, an employee at Seven Clover Dispensary, told Moya she Kreitman dealing with a commotion outside. When he left the building, she saw a man in a hat, later identified as Harper, “freaking out” because it appeared the red Hummer was going to crash into him.

“Delgado recalled seeing the red Hummer enter alley way and possibly hit something,” Moya wrote. “This occurred prior to her any having knowledge of any situation that was transpiring.”

Pino allegedly threatened Harper with what appeared to be a shovel in his back seat, but she was not sure if it was a shovel, a bat or something else.

“Delgado stated the male was ‘raging,'” Moya wrote.

The perimeter

While at the scene, Moya saw a set of speakers in the alley and one was missing a cover. The cover was inside the gated church property.

“Officer Lucero and myself walked the perimeter of the church and could not locate any forced entry or any other type of entry,” Moya wrote. “I did locate some branches inside the dumpster. There was also a green couch cushion as well.”

A “responsible party,” Jacob Welch, allowed them in to make sure there were no signs of forced entry.

“Everything appeared secure and could only locate a window that was not locked,” he wrote. “The window was closed and could not determine whether that could’ve been used as any point of entry.”

Pino’s interview

At the scene, Moya talked to Pino and told him he would interview him at the police station.

“Pino uttered he was contacted by someone who lives in a triplex close by,” Moya wrote. “The person informed him that there were two individuals taking items from the church. I told Pino I will continue to speak with him at the substation so I could advise him of His Constitutional Rights per Miranda.”

At 5:18 p.m., at the Phil Chacon police substation, Moya read Pino his Miranda rights.

“Pino was asking me what he should do. I advised him I could not provide legal advice and that he would have to make the decision or he could contact an attorney,” Moya wrote. “During this time, Pino stated he only wanted to detain them until the police got there. He was tired of dealing with continuous burglaries and other property crimes that have been occurring on the property.”

Moya told Pino that he could not ask him any questions or engage in conversation, and Pino allegedly continued to say that he meant to knock the men down so they would not leave and after knokcing the first one done, he tried to knock down the second.

“He has been dealing with fires being lit inside the property and other nuisances,” Moya wrote. “He just wanted them to get arrested to send a message to others to leave the property alone. Pino stated he had a shovel in the car and wanted to knock the other guy out until the cops got there. It should be noted I did not ask any questions or partake in the conversation. When I engaged in conversation it was merely to provide understanding of his Constitutional Rights.”

Pino allegedly said he did not know what else to do about his property and said he was outside of his vehicle, threatening Harper.

“Pino reiterated he wanted to detain them when he saw them carrying his stereo,” Moya wrote. “Pino stated he didn’t have any intentions of killing or hurting anybody he just wanted them to stop. I eventually terminated the interview due to his indecision to waive his Constitutional Rights. I instructed him to contact an attorney and contact me for an interview if he wanted to.”

He was initially arrested on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Arballo died at 5 p.m., May 1, 2017. On May 4, a pathologist conducted an autopsy and thereafter, officers made the decision to charge Pino with murder.

PC - Christopher Pino - 5-4-2017

 

Indictment, plea and sentence

Portrait of District Judge Cristina Jaramillo
District Judge Cristina Jaramillo

On May 19, 2017, a grand jury indicted Pino on five charges:

  • Second-degree murder
  • Vehicular homicide (reckless driving)
  • Knowingly leaving the scene of an accident causing great bodily harm or death
  • Two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

On June 5, 2018, Pino pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, which has a maximum sentence of six years, signed by prosecutor David Waymire and accepted by Jaramillo. Waymire dismissed the other charges against Pino.

On Aug. 15 2018, District Court Judge Cristina Jaramillo sentenced him to 3 1/2 years. He received credit for 197 days served.

See the case documents on Google Drive.