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Santa Fe man charged in stabbing death

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Santa Fe Police Department Crime Scene Technician Maria Tena investigates the scene of a stabbing death on Lopez Street. (Eddie Moore/ Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — A Santa Fe man is charged with an open count of murder after a stabbing death Monday evening.

A Santa Fe Police Department press release says Jonathan Kelly, 61, stabbed 51-year-old Robert Barela on Lopez Street around 8 p.m. Monday. Barela was found dead at the scene.

The SWAT and Crisis Negotiations teams were called out because Kelly refused to come out of a house on the 1100 block of Lopez Street, near Bicentennial Park. Officers entered the house after Kelly stopped communicating with them and found him unconscious, apparently from consuming too much prescription medication, the release says.

Kelly was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Tuesday morning, Deputy Chief Paul Joye said Kelly was still unconscious in the hospital and had not been interviewed yet. He said officers were processing the scene and trying to figure out what happened at the house.

A woman who answered the phone at Barela’s house said his death is “a tragic loss for our family.”

She said he was a great person “who was always there to help someone,” and that’s what he was doing when he was killed. Barela was widely known in the neighborhood and throughout the community, she said.

In July, Kelly was charged with aggravated battery against a household member, but the case was dropped in August.

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Jonathan Kelly, in a booking photo from a July arrest.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe Magistrate Court, Kelly and a woman got into an argument at his home on Lopez the morning of July 22. The woman told an officer that Kelly placed his hand around her neck and was squeezing it. The woman said she couldn’t breathe and thought she was going to die.

Later that day the woman returned to Kelly’s house, but Kelly didn’t let her in. She said Kelly pushed the front window bars, hitting her in the forehead and causing her to bleed. She then called police.

Kelly acknowledged there was an argument but denied touching the woman. He said he “barely tapped” the window gate, and said it was an accident that it struck her forehead.

Santa Fe Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Padgett Macias filed a dismissal of the case on Aug. 14. The document has no explanation, just saying “it is in the best interest of justice.” Kelly appears to have no other criminal history in New Mexico. Courts records also don’t show any charges against Barela,


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