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Second man arrested in 2020 ABQ homicide

Jeffrey Denton (MDC)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Another suspect has been charged in the fatal shooting of a man last year in the university area after police say his DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails.

Jeffrey Denton, 36, is charged with an open count of murder and armed robbery in the April 1, 2020, death of Zachary Schaefer, 27. Denton was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Thursday.

In late March, 20-year-old Shaquan Ketcham was charged with an open count of murder in Schaefer’s death. Both men have since been indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

A judge denied a motion to detain Ketcham until trial but granted a motion in Denton’s case, noting he has prior violent convictions, has previously failed to appear in court and said it is “extremely concerning” that his DNA was found under Schaefer’s fingernails.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Officers responded around 11:30 p.m. to reports of gunshots near Gold and Maple NE. They found Schaefer, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, fatally shot and lying in the street.

Neighbors told police they heard an argument lead to gunfire before a black car fled the scene, crashing into a wall. Police learned Schaefer had gone to sell drugs to a person named “blue.”

Detectives traced the car that fled to Ketcham’s relatives, who told them he goes by “blue,” had the car the night of the homicide and told family he got into a “shootout.” Police traced the number used to call Schaefer that night to a phone registered to Denton’s wife.

An unknown DNA profile was found beneath Schaefer’s fingernails and in March detectives got a CODIS hit on the DNA showing it was a match for Denton. Denton told police he was not in Albuquerque the night of the homicide but police say his EBT card was used in the city.

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