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Bartender’s death nets teen 4 years in juvenile prison

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A local teen will remain in custody until his 21st birthday for his role in crimes surrounding the death of a local bartender, an Albuquerque judge ruled Tuesday.

Andrew Hubler is one of six boys prosecuted in connection with the killing of Steven Gerecke and a hearing before state District Judge Brett Loveless on Tuesday brought his case to a close.

According to prosecutors, Hubler and his friends had been “mobbing,” breaking into homes and cars on June 26, 2015, when Gerecke confronted them in his driveway and Jeremiah King opened fire.

Prosecutor Larissa Callaway said that Hubler’s DNA and fingerprints were found inside the Gereckes’ home and during Tuesday’s hearing, she urged Loveless to keep the teen in custody.

Alternately, his defense attorney Megan Mitsunaga said Hubler would be able to enroll in nursing classes and continue counseling if he was sentenced to probation and allowed to live with his grandparents in Arizona.

Loveless ruled in May that Hubler, 17, was amenable to treatment and should be sentenced as a juvenile, which means he can remain in custody only until his 21st birthday.

Hubler pleaded guilty in September to seven charges, including aggravated burglary.

Loveless encouraged Hubler to take advantage of the counseling and educational services available to him while he’s in the custody of the state Children Youth and Families Department and to “take a different path” when he’s released.

“I sincerely hope that in the rest of your life you spend each and every day… trying to make this community better, not worse,” Loveless said.

Of the four teens whose cases were handled in adult court, Hubler is the second to last to be sentenced. Christopher Rodriguez, who will be sentenced as an adult, is set for sentencing on Friday.

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