Bernalillo County Deputy District Attorney named "Prosecutor of Year"

April 16 - Bernalillo County Deputy District Attorney, Penny Gilbert has been honored by the New Mexico District Attorneys’ Association as “Prosecutor of the Year". This is the most prestigious annual award given by the NMDAA for exemplary performance by a prosecutor.   

Gilbert prosecuted three murder trials last year and achieved convictions in all three.  One of these trials was against Esias Madrid, who killed Jayden Chavez-Silver while Silver was attending a party with friends.  Another of Gilbert’s trials was against Tyler Hernandez, who murdered a homeowner in his driveway while attempting to burglarize the homeowner's car.  Gilbert’s third trial involved the execution of Cory Coyner over a stolen firearm.

She convicted these defendants under all three theories possible in New Mexico:  Deliberate intention, depraved mind, and felony murder.  Gilbert obtained these convictions while also running the grand jury division. She will be honored at the upcoming Administrative Office of the District Attorney (AODA) spring conference in Ruidoso. Gilbert is currently the Deputy District Attorney for Special Proceedings at the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. 


Sandoval Sentenced to 30 Years

April 12 - An Albuquerque man who plead guilty to second-degree murder and 35 more charges was sentenced to 30 years in DOC. 
Prosecutors accepted the plea in January. 
In September 2016, Daniel Lee Sandoval and a group of teens were in Northwest Albuquerque attempting to steal a van. The van’s owner, Hector Aguirre came out to confront the group when Sandoval, the driver of the van ran over Aguirre. 
Sandoval was the last of the group of teens to face sentencing.
The way the sentence is structured he has five years probation following his initial 30-year sentence. If he violates probation he faces another 70 years in prison.

Nigel Johnson Guilty On All Counts

April 4 - A jury returns with a guilty verdict on all counts against Nigel Myron Johnson for his role in the August 2016 beating death of a man in front of a southeast Albuquerque convenience store. Johnson was found guilty of first-degree murder, as well as the alternative charge of second-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy. Sentencing is set for June 5, 2018. Co-Defendant Emilio Mirabal is set for trial in October.

Nine Year Sentence for Jimenez

April 3 - Dominic Jimenez was sentenced to nine years in DOC after pleading guilty to 13 charges for a series of crimes committed between September and December 2016. Jimenez was a member of a local street gang and was indicted along with 15 other gang members in March of last year. Jimenez, though not the driver, was involved in the 2016 death of a local contractor after taking his vehicle. The Driver, Daniel Sandoval, plead guilty to 36 counts including 2nd degree murder for that incident. He will be sentenced on April 12th.

Third Defendant Sentenced in Death of Boyer

March 9 - Today the third defendant involved in the 2015 death of Tiffany Boyer was sentenced. Shawna Cannon earlier plead guilty to 2nd-degree kidnapping and was sentenced to six years in prison followed by three years’ probation for her role in Boyer's murder. Joshua Taramasco and Stephanie Stepp are currently in prison, serving their sentences. William Alexander, who was found guilty of 1st-degree murder following a jury trial is set for sentencing on April 3rd.

25 Year Sentence for Violent Attack

February 28 - An Albuquerque man was sentenced to 25 with seven years suspended for the violent attack of his girlfriend and roommate after catching them together in bed. Moments ago Clive Phillips was found guilty of multiple counts of aggravated battery and will serve 18 years in Department of Corrections followed by five years’ probation for the 2013 attack on Alexzandria Buhl and Adrian Carriaga. Phillips beat them with a baseball bat then shot them both using a pistol and rifle. Carriaga died but Buhl survived. Phillips was immediately taken into custody. In January, Phillips plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Sex Offender Pleads Guilty

February 27 - Ben Aguilar plead guilty to the rape of a 15-year-old girl during a February 2017 sleepover his daughter was having at their home. His plea included two counts of criminal sexual penetration in the 2nd degree and two counts of selling/giving alcohol to a minor. As word of this case spread two more minor victims came forward following a 2013 incident. In that case Aguilar plead no contest to 2nd degree kidnapping and 3rd degree criminal sexual contact. As part of his plea agreement he will face a 24 year sentence and up to 15 years in the Department of Corrections. He will also face five year to lifetime parole and 5-20 probation along with court ordered sex offender treatment. Aguilar also agreed to register as a sex offender for life. His sentencing is set for March 14, 2018. “In terms in of the Special Victim’s Unit we consider him one of our top 10 offenders,” SVU Prosecutor Rebekah Reyes said. “There could be other young victims out there and we would encourage them to come forward.”

Waruszewski Enters Guilty Plea

February 26 - This morning an evidentiary hearing with prosecutors quickly transitioned into a ‘no contest’ plea when Luke Waruszewski admitted to the February 2017 murder of Larry Mullin. Mullin, a cab driver was picking up Waruszewski at the Smith’s parking lot near Central Avenue and Coors Boulevard when he was attacked by Waruszewski. Waruszewski will now face sentencing after agreeing to 2nd degree murder and tampering with evidence charges. He faces up to 15 years followed by three year’s probation. Sentencing is set for April, 30th, 2018.