SANTA FE — A Santa Fe District Court judge denied a prosecution motion to keep a teen charged with murder in custody pending trial and instead placed him on house arrest.
Zachary Gutierrez, 18, was indicted last month for second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the shooting death of 64-year-old Richard Milan of Kalamazoo, Mich., on Airport Road in September 2018.
Gutierrez was originally charged with the murder last year when he was 17. Those charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled, when the District Attorney’s Office couldn’t meet a court deadline for juvenile defendants.
After the September indictment, the DA’s Office filed a petition to keep Gutierrez in custody pending trial, but on Tuesday District Judge Marlowe Sommer denied that motion.
Gutierrez is already on electronic monitoring and house arrest, with a work release, in an unrelated case where he fired a gun and fled from officers in February.
The judge took notice of how well he’s been doing while on electronic monitoring while living with his parents since April and decided to keep him on the same conditions pending resolution of the murder case.
“You have to continue to do that perfectly, as you have been doing it perfectly,” Marlowe Sommer told Gutierrez.
Police reports say Gutierrz shot Milan, who was visiting Santa Fe with is wife during a cross country trip, after he and other teens encountered Milan while he was walking his dog on Sept. 26, 2018. A girl told police that Gutierrez stood over Milan and laughed after the shooting. Milan died of blood loss from two bullet wounds at a local hospital.
On Tuesday, Defense attorney Stephen Aarons said in court that Gutierrez was in fact part of a group with another male and three females when they encountered Milan. But Aarons says the other male in the group was the shooter and had threatened the girls into blaming Gutierrez.
Prosecutor Heather Smallwood said Gutierrez faces serious murder charges and added that he picked up new charges in the February case involving gunplay after the initial murder charge was dropped last year. She also said he is a flight risk because he had absconded from supervision after a previous release from the Santa Fe youth detention center.
Hugh Dangler, who also represents Gutierrez, said in court that Gutierrez has been holding down a job with a roofing company and has turned his life around in the last six months.
“I do think this guy gets it now,” Dangler said.
Gutierrez had multiple arrests as a juvenile but most of those charges were dropped.