SANTA FE, N.M. — The wife of a former Air Force officer found dead in the master closet of his Northeast Heights home claimed all along that while she “technically” killed her husband, it was her husband’s insistence that made her pull the trigger during a party for foreign exchange students in July.
But a three-month “intricate” and “complicated” police investigation has landed the wife, 30-year-old Amy Herrera, behind bars after an autopsy, her inconsistent testimony and a tip from a confidential informant prompted investigators to charge with an open count of murder, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.
Marc Herrera’s death was initially ruled a suicide after a field investigator decided not to make a full violent crimes call out July 1, when police arrived to find a group of foreign exchange students “crying and speaking to officers in broken English, stating there was a victim upstairs in the closet.”
Herrera, 37, and his wife were hosting a student from Ecuador and had a small party for exchange students July 1.
As the party was winding down and everyone was drunk, Herrera became angry that the students weren’t separating by gender into their assigned bedrooms and produced a gun, according to the complaint.
Amy Herrera then tried to calm her husband, she told police, and encouraged him to join her in the master bedroom.
That’s when she said her husband put the gun barrel in his mouth and asked her to fire the weapon.
“I’ll make it easy for you,” Herrera told his wife, according to Amy Herrera’s testimony in an initial police report. “The gun is loaded and cocked. Just pull the trigger.”
Since Marc Herrera’s death, investigators continued interviewing Amy Herrera and determined that she was unable to tell her story consistently and re-enact the event.
Also, the Office of the Medical Investigator ruled in early September that Herrera did not kill himself and noted in an autopsy that Herrera did not have soot in his mouth, which a criminalistics investigator determined was not consistent with Amy Herrera’s story, according to the complaint. Also, investigators met with a confidential informant Oct. 8 who said Herrera admitted shooting her husband of her own accord, not because her husband demanded it.
“(The informant) said they were talking about Marc when Amy stated, ‘I need to tell you the truth about what happened,’ ” according to the complaint. “… I shot him.”
Amy Herrera is charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence.
She’s being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center on a no-bond hold.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal