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Santa Fe police make arrest in 2018 homicide

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Santa Fe police say they blended the use of new technology with good old-fashioned police work to catch a man they believe is a killer.

Joseph Matthew Gregory Jones, 26, of Santa Fe, was booked into the Santa Fe County jail Thursday after police charged him with the murder of Robert J. Romero in July 2018. Jones was also charged with tampering with evidence, attempt to commit aggravated burglary and attempt to commit residential burglary. He is being held without bond.

Joseph Jones

Romero, a 52-year-old comptroller and chief financial officer for Barker Realty in Santa Fe, was shot and killed around 3 a.m. July 30, 2018, in the backyard of his home on Las Casitas in central Santa Fe during an altercation.

Santa Fe police say they enlisted the services of Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company, to narrow the list of suspects. The company “uses advanced DNA testing in combination with innovative genetic analysis, sophisticated identification techniques and traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between an individual and his/her ancestors,” SFPD explained in a news release. DNA left by the suspect at the scene of the homicide was used to create a genetic data profile and run through a public genetic genealogy database.

“The Santa Fe Police Department then used traditional police work to continue the investigation where upon Joseph Jones … was identified as the suspect,” the release said.

Jones has at least one previous conviction, according to online court records. He pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in 2017 and was placed on probation.

Romero was an avid mountain biker. Friends said he was smart, funny and could do things on a mountain bike others couldn’t. One friend called him an “absolute legend” on a mountain bike.

Romero was married with two children.

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