Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a man on suspicion of murder in a shooting last October on the Pajarito Mesa southwest of Albuquerque.
Jesus De La Cruz Hinojos, 49, was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center early Wednesday on an open count of murder in the death of Raul Martinez.
Martinez was found shot to death in his vehicle on Oct. 22 after he left a nearby home to meet a friend, who had gotten a vehicle stuck in the area, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Several hours later, family members went to look for Martinez and found him slumped over in his green pickup with blood coming out of his mouth. He had been shot in the neck, according to the complaint.
According to court documents, a witness said Hinojos had threatened Martinez about a month prior to his death, and witnesses told investigators that Hinojos had gotten a vehicle stuck in the mesa about the same time Martinez was shot.
A search of Martinez’s phone records showed that Hinojos had called Martinez just before he left the home with his family to meet a friend, according to BCSO.
Hinojos had been detained by Albuquerque police about two weeks before the shooting and a firearm was temporarily taken from him. Subsequent testing by the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network found that the gun Hinojos had when he was detained could be linked to the shell casings found in Martinez’s car, according to court documents.
BCSO in a KOB-TV report in December acknowledged the agency was investigating the homicide. The report featured Martinez’s girlfriend who at the time was questioning whether the agency was doing enough to solve the homicide. The sheriff’s office had not otherwise publicly mentioned the homicide case until Wednesday when it announced Hinojos’ arrest.
In recent months the sheriff’s office has waited weeks or months to inform the public of two homicides and an incident last month in which a man allegedly opened fire on a deputy. The agency didn’t disclose one of the homicides or the shooting until after they had made arrests in the cases and only disclosed the second homicide after the Journal questioned whether they had any other undisclosed homicides from this year.
Jayme Fuller, a BCSO spokeswoman, didn’t respond to questions about the agency’s recent practice of withholding information about major cases.
Instead, the sheriff’s office posted the Journal’s questions on social media.
“We let the investigation take the lead in determining when it’s appropriate to release information,” the agency said on Facebook, referring to the Journal as “hostile” for the questions. “After all, our focus is on making sure we apprehend criminals, not sell newspapers.”
Prosecutors have filed a motion to detain Hinojos.
“The nature and circumstances of the offense charged and the weight of the evidence against the defendant are sufficient to merit the defendant’s pretrial detention,” Assistant District Attorney D’Ann Rasmussen wrote in a motion seeking to detain Hinojos.
It was not clear if Hinojos has an attorney, and an emergency contact for him on his jail records couldn’t be reached for comment.