Man accused of killing mother, may soon be released | KOB 4

Man accused of killing mother, may soon be released

Brittany Costello
February 19, 2018 08:07 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A man who admitted to killing his mother, a state police officer, in 2007 but was later acquitted by reason of insanity was expected to be released from a mental health facility and transported to Albuquerque on Sunday.


Justin Quintana, 25 at the time of the killing, stole his mother's own service weapon and used it to kill her. From the get-go, family members blamed the tragic shooting on mental illness – a battle Susan Kuchima tried to fight alongside her son.

"She was the kind of person that would love you just the way you were, and it didn't matter how broken you were or how many problems you were; she just loved you because you deserved to be loved," family members said at the time.

Quintana faced charges of murder, burglary and larceny, but he was declared incompetent to stand trial. According to court documents, he was treated by the Behavioral Health Institute from 2008 to 2016.

In August 2016 he was deemed competent for trial, but that trial would never come. Instead, he was acquitted of criminal liability by reason of insanity, so a court ordered health officials to commit Quintana to a mental health facility.

The order stated: "Never release the defendant until he is no longer dangerous as defined by New Mexico law."

Because Quintana had been treated to mental competency, a Supreme Court overturned the order keeping him in a mental health facility.

But on Saturday, just a day before he was expected to be released, the attorney general's office sent a letter to the New Mexico Department of Health saying, "We fear Mr. Quintana may pose a threat to society."

The AG's office is asking DOH officials to civilly commit Quintana to additional treatment.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told KOB on Sunday he's disappointed a district attorney would allow this type of deal to be reached in the first place.


Brittany Costello

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