Rio Rancho man slain after ‘text arguing’ by man in Mora

Alex Pacheco

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A Mora man has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a Rio Rancho man early Saturday, Sept. 28.

New Mexico State Police says Alex Pacheco, 24, is also facing charges of aggravated battery and negligent use of a weapon in the killing of 27-year-old Jermain Jennings.

According to an NMSP news release issued Thursday, the agency’s Investigations Bureau was called in to investigate the homicide that happened in Mora during the early morning hours.

Investigators learned Jennings and another Rio Rancho man — who is 50 years old but not identified by name by NMSP — had gone over to Pacheco’s home off NM 94.

“During a dispute, Jennings and the male subject were shot by Pacheco,” State Police said. “After the shooting, Jennings and the male subject drove to an Allsup’s convenience store in Mora, where they were met by emergency medical services. Jennings and the male subject were transported to a hospital.”

Jennings died at the hospital. The other man suffered a gunshot wound. State Police said details of his condition will not be released.

An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Pacheco, who was taken into custody without incident and booked into the San Miguel County jail.

According to a follow-up story in the Las Vegas Optic, the wounded man, Ben Montoya Jr., was Jennings’s husband and the two were headed to Cleveland, N.M., to help care for a family member.

Montoya’s mother told police her son had been sending text messages to Ben Montoya all day, and Pacheco was “calling him names” in those text messages. Ben Montoya told her that Pacheco had shot him and Jennings while the couple was at Pacheco’s apartment.

NMSP investigators recovered two bullet casings in the vicinity of Pacheco’s apartment. The Optic also reported that a woman who lives with Pacheco, identified as his girlfriend, told police Pacheco had been fighting with Ben Montoya all day via text messages. She said she was asleep when she heard someone kicking at the front door, and then heard gunshots. Pacheco told her Ben Montoya and Jennings had “tried to get in.”

NMSP investigators found a bullet casing in the driveway at Pacheco’s apartment, and another fired casing was found inside the apartment. Police also located a trail of blood near the driveway, where the vehicle Montoya and Jennings traveled in was parked; officers found bullet holes in the windshield, as well as another bullet casing near a windshield wiper.

Pacheco has been charged with felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and misdemeanor negligent use of a deadly weapon near a dwelling or building.

Judge John Sanchez set a cash-only bond of $200,000 for Pacheco, scheduled to be arraigned in Mora Magistrate Court Oct. 16.

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