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

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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.

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

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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.

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Ryan Garcia’s parole revoked after serving 7-year sentence for killing his grandmother

See the summary of the case here

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — According to notice of a probation violation, Ryan Garcia was paroled on May 18, 2017 and released from prison after serving his seven-year sentence. After a month at a facility called Hoffman Hall, he moved in with his mother, after being “discharged” from the program, because he could not afford the rent.

Las Vegas, NM. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen/Flickr

On July 7, 2017, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Garcia after a woman reported him behind her house and allegedly threatening the woman. He was arrested for concealing his identity and assault. The deputies used one of his tattoos and his ankle monitor to identify him.

Garcia also allegedly failed to contact the drug test line every weekday after his arrest. However, between his release and arrest, he only called the line three times.

On Aug. 15, 2017, prosecutor Thomas Clayton filed a motion to revoke Garcia’s probation and on Sept. 15, 2017, he filed another motion to withdraw it and wrote that Garcia’s parole was revoked.

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Ruth Rivera: Arthur Rivera — 12-28-2016

  • Suspect: Ruth Rivera, 54
  • Victim: Arthur River, 81
  • Charges: First-degree murder, tampering with evidence, embezzlement over $20,000 and two counts of forgery over $20,000.
  • Status: Dismissed after Ruth Rivera committed suicide before she was set to plead guilty
  • Date of incident: Dec. 28, 2016
  • Agency: State Police
  • Location:  580 State Road 3 in Ribera, San Miguel County
  • Magistrate court number: M-48-FR-2017-00001
  • District court number: D-412-CR-201700044

Summary

Arthur Rivera’s daughter-in-law, who was also his caretaker since 2011, allegedly stabbed him 20 times, 15 in the body and five to the head.

Ruth Rivera claimed her father law law, Arthur Rivera, 81, had fallen in the bathroom.

According to the criminal information filed Jan. 31, 2017 in San Miguel District Court, Ruth Rivera allegedly stole $79,300 from Arthur Rivera between June 28, 2016 and December 28, 2016.

Rivera had been scheduled to to take a plea on Oct. 1, 2018, but she was found dead before then from what authorities said was a suicide.

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The incident

On Dec. 28, 2016, Ruth Rivera called 911 and said her father-in-law had fallen and she needed help getting him up. When El Pueblo Fire Department firefighters got to the trailer, they found it was filled with smoke and started opening the windows. They found Arthur Rivera on the ground in the bathroom, with a large amount of blood around his body. They covered him with a blanket, State Police Agent Hector Vacio wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Ruth Rivera had been Arthur Rivera’s caretaker since 2011. She had experience taking care of her elderly father before he died, but she allegedly described not wanting to take care of her father-in-law.

Ruth Rivera

“NMSP Officer (M.) Velasquez observed a stove inside the residence, which appeared to have damage from an explosion/fire,” Vacio wrote.

Vacio then spoke with Richard Bodell and Edward Madrid who responded to Ruth Rivera’s 911 call. They said there was a lot of smoke in the house and they had to open the windows.

Just before midnight the same day, Vacio went to the Christus St. Vincent’s Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe to speak to Ruth Rivera.

“Ms. Rivera advised she went to work at her father-in-law’s residence since she is his primary caretaker,” Vacio wrote. “Ms. Rivera made breakfast for him and later in the day she remembered him going to the restroom. As he was in the restroom she was cooking food on the stove.”

She allegedly told Vacio that she went to the bathroom after she heard a crashing or thumping noise from the bathroom.

“Ms. Rivera explained the door to the restroom was closed and she began pounding on the door but didn’t know if Arthur was hearing her,” Vacio wrote. “She stated she heard Arthur say ‘ayudame’ (‘help me’) and she went inside the restroom using another door via the closet.”

Inside, she allegedly said she saw Arthur Rivera on the ground with his head near the toilet and blood coming from his mouth. She allegedly tried to pick him up but found that she could not.

“Ms. Rivera left the residence and went to the street to flag individuals down in order to assist her to pick Arthur up,” Vacio wrote. “She does not remember turning the stove off and when she went back to the trailer there was smoke inside of the trailer.”

Vacio asked for River to hand over the clothing she had been wearing that day, which she did, in two plastic bags. Vacio noticed the clothes were damp and he wrote that this meant it appeared someone tried to remove “biological samples/stain” from the clothing by washing or wetting them. Her shirt was missing from the bags.

“The paramedic also observed Ruth Rivera’s clothes were damp,” Vacio wrote. “It is reasonably believed that Ms. Rivera washed/removed any biological samples/stains she had with intent to remove/destroy evidence.”

After getting a search warrant, the State Police Crime Scene team scoured the trailer. and found a silver knife blade and separately, on the stove, the knife handle. Both appeared to have blood on them.

When they first examined Arthur Rivera’s body, they found 17 wounds on his upper chest, face and head.

Later, at the autopsy on Dec. 30, 2016, a pathologist found 15 stab or “incise type” wounds on the man’s upper body and five stab or incise wounds to the head. There were another three incise wounds on his left hand, consistent with defensive injuries.

The following day, Dec. 29, 2016, Vacio spoke to Rivera again.

Ruth Rivera allegedly said didn’t really want to take care of her father-in-law but did so anyways.

She allegedly said in the second interview that she arrived at the house between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m., put groceries away, and cooked breakfast for him. After reading the newspaper and watching TV for two hours, Aruther Rivera went to the bathroom.

Again, she allegedly said she heard the thump or crashing noise and went to the bathroom through the closet.

“Ms. Rivera stated she placed her arns under his armpits and he began to put his weight on her and grab her by the shoulders,” Vacio wrote. “Ruth opened the other restroom door when she started smelling what appeared to smoke from the fire. Ms. Rivera stated she called 911 from her living room. The 911 call was received at 12:41 pm.”

Vacio told her that statement, different from her first that he was on the ground in a pool of blood, was not consistent with the evidence found at the scene. He told her to tell the truth.

“Ms. Rivera stated he was hurting her and he wasn’t understanding that she was trying to help him,” Vacio wrote. “She explained he was hurting her shoulders and back. Ms. Rivera stated she tried to run away from him and began to panic.”

Vacio initially charged her with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence.

Ruth Rivera - 1-3-2016 - Affidavit for Arrest warrant

Criminal information filed

On Jan. 31, 2017, Chief Deputy District Attorney Thomas Clayton filed a criminal information in San Miguel District Court charging Ruth Rivera with an open count of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, embezzlement over $20,000 and two counts of forgery over $20,000.

The criminal information, filed because she waived her right to a preliminary hearing,

The criminal information alleges that Ruth Rivera stole $79,300 from Arthur Rivera and forged two checks in his name. One check, allegedly forged on July 25, 2016, was for $29,000 and the other, allegedly forged on Aug. 8, 2016, was for $35,000.

She also allegedly forged two checks in Arthur Rivera’s name. The first allegedly forged check was handled on July 25, 2016, for $29,000 and the second was for $35,000. It was allegedly written on Aug. 8, 2016.

Suicide

According to the Las Vegas Optic, Ruth Rivera killed herself around Oct. 1, 2018, before she was set to enter into a plea for Arthur Rivera’s death. She was out on bail at the time.

On Oct. 4, 2018, prosecutors dismissed the case against her because of her death.

See the case documents on Google Drive.

Ryan Garcia: Margaret Garcia — 2-16-2010

  • Suspect: Ryan Garcia
  • Victim: Margaret Garcia, grandmother
  • Non-fatal victim: Ralph Garcia, father
  • Non-fatal victim: Robert Garcia, uncle
  • Charges: Second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon pleaded down to voluntary manslaughter and one count of aggravated battery
  • Status: Sentenced; guilty plea to charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery
  • Sentence: 7 years (6-9 range in plea deal)
  • Date of incident: Feb. 16, 2010
  • Agency: Las Vegas Police Department
  • Location: 1100 block of Columbia Street, Las Vegas
  • Magistrate case number: M-48-FR-201000068
  • District case number: D-412-CR-2011-225
  • Relationship: Grandmother
  • District (sentencing/plea) judge: Abigail Aragon

 

Summary

Seemingly in a fit of rage over not being allowed to open a package left by the mailman but intended for the neighbors on Feb. 16, 2010, in Las Vegas, N.M., Ryan Garcia beat his grandmother, uncle and father with a metal pipe and threw his grandmother out of the house, onto concrete.

While she was on the ground, he punched and kicked her and then attacked his father with a glass bowl followed by a metal pipe.

His grandmother died shortly after being transported to the hospital.

On March 20, 2012, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery of a household member, with a minimum proscribed sentence of six years and a maximum of nine.

On July 9, 2012, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In 2017, a prosecutor moved to have Garcia’s probation revoked and then withdrew it after his parole was revoked.

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The incident

On Feb. 16, 2010, officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the 1100 block of Columbia Street in Las Vegas, New Mexico. When they arrived, they found two people on the ground in front of the house. One, grandmother Margaret Garcia, was lying in the yard while the other, uncle Robert Garcia, was lying on the porch. Both appeared to be bloodied, bruised and swollen, Las Vegas Police Department Detective Kenneth Jenkins wrote in a statement of probable cause for Ryan Garcia’s arrest.

Las Vegas, NM. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen/Flickr

Father Ralph Garcia was outside in the yard, holding a large pipe and handcuffed. Shortly thereafter, Ryan Garcia walked out of the house and he, too, was handcuffed.

“While at the scene, through brief interviews of victims and witnesses, it was discovered that Ryan was the aggressor in the disturbance,” Jenkins wrote. “It was found that Ryan was the person to inflict injury to Mr. Robert Garcia, Margaret Garcia and Ralph Garcia. Through these interviews it was discovered that Ryan was upset because he was not allowed to open a package left at the home by the mailman for the neighbors.”

Ryan Garcia filled with rage and started to punch his uncle, Robert Garcia, in the face.

“Ryan then turned to his grandmother Margaret and began punching her in the face,” Jenkins wrote. “Ryan then grabs his grandmother and throws her out the front doors. Ms. Margaret Garcia is said to fallen off of the porch head first, onto the cement.”

Ryan Garcia then grabbed his uncle and dragged him outside to the porch and started kicking and punching him.

“Ryan then turned to his grandmother Margaret and began punching and kicking her as she law on the ground,” Jenkins wrote. “At this time, Ryan’s father a Mr. Ralph Garcia arrives at the home from going to the store. It is said Ryan throws a glass bowl at him striking him in the face.”

Ryan Garcia then grabbed the metal pipe and started hitting his father with it, but his father fought back and the pair began to struggle for the makeshift weapon.

“During a struggle, Mr. Ralph Garcia is able to take the pipe away from Ryan,” Jenkins wrote. “As Officers arrived, subjects were detained and victims treated.”

Robert and Margaret Garcia were transported to the Alta Vista Regional Hospital, but Margaret Garcia died three days later at 7:53 a.m., Feb. 19.

He was initially charged with second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm.

In December 2010, San Miguel District Attorney Richard Flores told the Las Vegas Optic that Garcia was not competent to stand trial and was being housed in a state hospital.

Below is the affidavit for an arrest warrant written by Jenkins:

Ryan Garcia - Affidavit for Arrest Warrant

Autopsy report

In a seemingly randomly redacted autopsy report produced by the Office of the Medical Investigator, Margaret Garcia had heart disease and lung disease that “left her with little psysiologic reserve which which to survive her injuries,” Pathologist Michelle Barry and Fellow in Forensic Pathology Christopher Lochmuller wrote.

Bind over

On July 27, 2011, District Court Judge Abigail Aragon signed a stipulated order finding Garcia competent to stand trial, according to the Magistrate Court case.

On Oct. 27, 2011, after waiving his right to have his case presented for a preliminary hearing or to a grand jury, he was bound over to District Court on a criminal information charging second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm.

 

The plea

On March 20, 2012, Ryan Garcia pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery against a household member.

“The range of the sentence shall be a minimum of six (6) years and a maximum of nine (9) years in the court’s discretion, including whether the sentences shall run concurrent or consecutive to each other,” the plea agreement states.

Aragon, who presided over the case in District Court, signed off on the deal. The prosecutor’s signature is illegible.

The sentence

Portrait of District Judge Abigail Aragon
District Judge Abigail Aragon

On July 9, 2012, Aragon sentenced Ryan Garcia to seven years in prison, two years less than the maximum nine years she could have given him under the plea agreement.

She also found both of his crimes were serious violent offenses, meaning he has to serve 85 percent of his seven year sentence, just under six years.

Ryan Garcia received credit for time he had already served in jail, 848 days (2.32 years).

According to the For The Record notes kept during the sentencing hearing, it lasted from 1:42 p.m. until 2:06 p.m.

A woman only identified in the notes as “Ms. Garcia” told the judge that Ryan Garcia was her nephew and that he was a “very troubled young man” and that his life had not been easy.

“He needs help,” she said, according to the notes.

The judge described his pre-sentence evaluation as “very interesting.”

Parole revoked after release

According to notice of a probation violation, Ryan Garcia was paroled on May 18, 2017 and released from prison after serving his seven-year sentence. After a month at a facility called Hoffman Hall, he moved in with his mother, after being “discharged” from the program, because he could not afford the rent.

On July 7, 2017, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Garcia after a woman reported him behind her house and allegedly threatening the woman. He was arrested for concealing his identity and assault. The deputies used one of his tattoos and his ankle monitor to identify him.

Garcia also allegedly failed to contact the drug test line every weekday after his arrest. However, between his release and arrest, he only called the line three times.

On Aug. 15, 2017, prosecutor Thomas Clayton filed a motion to revoke Garcia’s probation and on Sept. 15, 2017, he filed another motion to withdraw it and wrote that Garcia’s parole was revoked.

See all of the documents on Google Drive or Document Cloud