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3 charged in July slaying in apartment lot

Adam Cazares (MDC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 21-year-old man is fatally shot in the back in the parking lot of a Northeast Albuquerque apartment complex. Hours later and across town, a 26-year-old man is gunned down outside of his apartment.

Recently unsealed court records reveal that detectives suspect the two slayings are connected. Charges have been filed only in the first homicide.

Gisell “Lexi” Estrada, 17, Jassiah Montoya, 15, and Adam Cazares, 31, are charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery in the July 10 slaying of Calvin Kelly. The homicide of Devon Bartlett later that day is still under investigation.

“During the course of these two investigations, detectives believe that the two homicides of Calvin Kelly and Devon Bartlett were connected,” detectives wrote in a previously sealed criminal complaint.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, police responded around 6 a.m. to The Retreat at Candelaria apartments, near Morris. They found Kelly dead in the parking lot.

Witnesses told police they heard a single gunshot and saw a white car flee the area.

Through further investigation, police say they learned Kelly’s death began as a robbery attempt by Estrada, Montoya, and Cazares.

On Sept. 17, Cazares’ girlfriend told investigators that Estrada knew Kelly through Facebook, and decided to rob him when Kelly was seen with a large amount of cash.

The girlfriend told police that while Estrada was planning the robbery, she asked Montoya to help and Montoya then brought Cazares into the plan.

Police say that in the early morning hours of July 10, the girlfriend and Estrada met Kelly at his apartment and asked him for a ride. While they were getting into the white car, the girlfriend told police Montoya and Cazares walked up to Kelly, held him at gunpoint and told him to empty his pockets and not to run.

But police say Kelly did run and Cazares shot him in the back with a rifle.
At around 2 p.m. on July 10 police were called back to the apartment complex where Kelly’s body was found roughly eight hours earlier for a disturbance. They found Kelly’s father and several other men, at least two of whom were armed with handguns.

The men reportedly told detectives “they would take care of the problem,” according to the complaint. They left in a newer model black Chevrolet Tahoe.

About two hours later, at 4 p.m., officers were dispatched to a shooting at the Sun Village Apartments in Northwest Albuquerque.

Officers found Bartlett dead, shot multiple times, on the walkway outside of the apartment where he had been staying. A friend of Bartlett’s told detectives he had recently threatened to rob Kelly as retribution for allegedly hurting a friend.

Police say Bartlett had even called that friend and “indicated” he had killed Kelly the morning of the shooting. But detectives say that’s not possible.

“Through (our) investigation, it appeared that (Bartlett) did not in fact murder Calvin Kelly and did not have opportunity to do so,” detectives wrote in the complaint.

A man who was inside the apartment with Bartlett before the shooting told police someone knocked on the door and Bartlett went outside. Police say the witness told them he looked out the window and saw several men attacking Bartlett before hearing gunshots.

According to the complaint, surveillance video from the apartment complex shows two vehicles fleeing the scene, including a newer-model black Chevrolet Tahoe.

Staff writer Matthew Reisen contributed to this report

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