The suspect in a recent deadly shooting pleaded not guilty Monday to three criminal counts.
Ignacio Gamez, 29, of Roswell pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County to one count each of voluntary manslaughter; tampering with evidence; and receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, according to Taylor Jaggers, deputy district attorney and the prosecutor in the case.
Gamez faces the charges in connection with the Sept. 1 shooting of Roswell residents Crystal Aguilar, 38, and Mark Montoya, 33, behind a residence in the 500 block of South Kansas Avenue.
Initially charged with two counts of second degree murder for the deaths of Aguilar and Montoya, the charge against Gamez in the death of Aguilar was later downgraded to the lesser charge of manslaughter, while the charge for the death of Montoya was dropped after the state learned of new evidence in the case.
When asked for specifics about the evidence at the time, Emily Fry, deputy district attorney, declined to go into detail.
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However at Gamez’s pre-trial detention hearing, Gino Basile, detective with the Roswell Police Department, said a witness later told police that before the shooting Montoya and Aguilar had allegedly demanded Gamez give them the keys to a Chevy Suburban as payment for money Gamez owed Montoya.
A physical confrontation then allegedly ensued between the witness and Aguilar.
The female witness said Montoya became involved and was about to hit her with a baseball bat when Gamez pulled a handgun out of a backpack and shot both Montoya and Aguilar, Basile said at the hearing.
Two other men later gave similar accounts as to what happened, including one man who Basile said witnessed the shooting.
Gamez left the scene before police arrived in response to the shooting. Aguilar was dead when police arrived.
Montoya was later transported to a Texas hospital to be treated for his injuries. He died Sept. 3 while undergoing surgery at a medical center in El Paso.
Basile said no guns were found at the scene but a baseball bat and ammunition were located, along with the Suburban Gamez drove.
Gamez was later apprehended after he was located at a residence in the zero block of Van Ruben Place, where police were dispatched. After 20 minutes, Gamez exited the residence and was arrested on an outstanding warrant in an unrelated case.
Judge Jared Kallunki on Sept. 8 granted a motion by the District Attorney’s office for Gamez to be held in pretrial detention up through his trial or upon further order of the court. According to electronic court records, Gamez’s jury trial is scheduled for May 18.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or firstname.lastname@example.org.