Eric Trujillo told a paramedic “Mario” was responsible after he collapsed from several stab wounds in Downtown Albuquerque last month, according to police. It would turn out to be the 39-year-old’s last words and what led detectives to charge Alberto Castanada, 47, with murder a month later.
Castanada, who goes by Mario Castellano-Reyes, was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center last weekend and faces an open count of murder in the April 11 stabbing.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, officers responded to Anodyne, a bar near Fourth and Central, around 8:30 p.m. They found Trujillo sitting on the sidewalk outside, covered in blood from several stab wounds.
Police say they traced a blood trail to an alleyway a block south, where they found a baseball hat and some other clothing items. Trujillo was hospitalized in critical condition and later died, but not before naming his alleged attacker.
Going off Trujillo’s “dying declaration,” detectives spoke with local beat cops who were familiar with a “Mario Castellanos” that became “angry and confrontational” with them during a 2018 drug bust.
Police say surveillance footage from three businesses showed the two men get into a fight in the alley a block from Anodyne. During the fight, which lasted “only a few seconds,” the two were in very close quarters.
According to the complaint, the men separated and Trujillo can be seen adjusting his baseball cap as he walked toward Anodyne where he collapsed.
Trujillo’s mother told police she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her son.
When he wasn’t home, she said Trujillo could be found working “odd jobs” at small businesses – or hanging out – in the Downtown district where everybody knew him.
A close friend, Ben Cressy, said Trujillo was an almost daily fixture around the local haunts.
“I’ll miss him. I already do,” he said.
Cressy said he happened to show up at Anodyne minutes after Trujillo was taken to the hospital and saw the area strewn with crime scene tape and spattered in blood.
“I recognized his hat was there, his skateboard, his bags,” Cressy said. “I was like ‘this is not good.’ ”
He said Trujillo’s mom told him Trujillo had been taken off life support the next day.
Cressy said he had known Trujillo since the two were teenagers at Valley High School and skateboarding was their life.
“We were all a bunch of misfit skate rats,” he said. “That was like our family. It just never really changed as we grew up.”
Cressy said Trujillo had a hard time holding down a steady job and made mistakes from time to time, but he was a brother through and through.
“The guy had a good heart,” he said. “No matter what, if you ever asked the guy for anything, he’d be there. He’d be on time.”