A Roswell man was sentenced Nov. 8 in connection with two separate homicides.
Frank Anthony Montoya Jr., 22, of Roswell, received a 15-year sentence at a hearing on one count of second-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Robert William Stotts Jr., 27, with another year added for using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He will spend nine years incarcerated at the Department of Corrections and another seven years suspended. Montoya will serve five of the seven years of his suspended sentence on supervised probation. The maximum amount of time an individual can serve on supervised probation is five years.
Montoya was also sentenced to one year and six months in the Department of Corrections for the unlawful carrying of a firearm in a licensed establishment, which will run concurrently — or at the same time as — the second-degree murder charge.
Montoya will receive 894 days of pre-confinement credit for time served, leaving him approximately six and a half years to serve on his prison sentence.
Montoya, initially charged with first-degree murder, pleaded no contest to the reduced charge of second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement.
According to court documents, Montoya shot Stotts May 8, 2017 at an Allsup’s in the 6000 block of South Main Street, following an argument over a cap between Montoya, Stotts and two other men.
Montoya was also sentenced Nov. 8 to three years in the Department of Corrections, followed by two years of parole, on one charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the 2014 death of Joe Garza.
A charge of first-degree murder against Montoya in Garza’s death was dismissed by the prosecution as part of the plea agreement, after Montoya pleaded no contest to the conspiracy charge.
The sentence will run concurrently with the sentence for charges in Stotts’ death.
Montoya and Louie Archuleta were alleged to have planned and carried out the murder of Garza, who was killed on Dec. 14, 2017 while riding his bicycle at the intersection of Mulberry Avenue and Tilden Street. The killing was thought to have been retaliation for a fight that occurred earlier in the month between relatives of Montoya and Garza.
At the sentencing hearing, a victim’s advocate stood before the judge reading six letters from relatives of Stotts, describing the victim as someone who lit up the room with his presence. A cousin stated in one of the letters that the loss of Stotts is “a scar that gets ripped off daily.”
Stotts’ father also spoke to the court.
“My son was given the death penalty, your honor. Not nine years, not a life sentence, but the death penalty,” he said.
Gary Mitchell, Montoya’s attorney, said the shooting of Stotts was a case of imperfect self-defense, in which a misunderstanding quickly initiated by a friend of Stotts evolved into a fight and ended with Montoya firing the gun, all within a short period of time.
He added that the confrontation was one that nobody involved had initially wanted.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.