A couple who just moved to Albuquerque from Arizona are behind bars, along with another couple, after police say the group tracked down a man they suspected of breaking into their SUV at a foothills-area motel and killed him last month.
Francisco Aguirre, 20, and his girlfriend, Marianna Lucero, 21, are each charged with murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. They told detectives they had moved to Albuquerque recently and were living out of a motel room and their SUV.
Lucero’s childhood friend – Latina Jiron – and her boyfriend, Andrew Castillo, 26, are also charged with murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
All four were arrested Friday night and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. Prosecutors have asked that they be held in jail pending trial.
Family members of 20-year-old Jiron and Aguirre declined to comment to the Journal, and relatives of Lucero and Castillo could not be reached. It’s unclear who their attorneys are.
A little before 7 p.m. on May 15, police were called to the area of Tramway and Central because a man had been shot to death and was lying in the middle of the street. He was identified as 32-year-old Joshua Oliver.
Detectives talked to witnesses who told them two men had been following Oliver and one of them shot him, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. Then, the men got into two separate cars – a silver Ford Expedition and a gold Pontiac Aztec – and drove away from the scene.
Those vehicles were found at two Motel 6 locations across town, as were the two couples.
Lucero told detectives she and Aguirre had moved to Albuquerque two weeks ago with their belongings, three dogs and one cat loaded into their Ford Expedition. They were staying at a Motel 6 near Tramway and Central.
She said that one day they heard their car alarm go off and Aguirre went outside to confront a man – later identified as Oliver – as he was walking away from their SUV. Lucero said her jewelry box was missing but they followed Oliver and found the jewelry box at a Waffle House and she recovered most of the items.
Then, she said, Aguirre saw Oliver again and tried to confront him.
“Marianna said she believed Francisco struck Joshua with the Expedition and they intended to ‘beat his ass,’ ” a detective wrote in the complaint. “That is when Joshua throws what she believes was a large rock.”
Lucero said she called Jiron – whom she’s known since seventh grade – to ask her and Castillo for help.
Lucero said the group drove around in two cars until they found Oliver again and Aguirre and Castillo got out to confront him. She said she saw Castillo wave a gun in the air, and then Oliver took off running, so they chased him.
Lucero said she thought Castillo had shot Oliver since he was the one who owned a gun, according to the complaint. However, Aguirre told detectives that Castillo had handed him a gun and he shot Oliver in “what he thought was in the shoulder,” according to the complaint.
Castillo denied knowing Lucero and Aguirre, denied being in possession of a gun and denied that his girlfriend’s vehicle was involved in the incident.