17-year-old girl spends six days in custody after being wrongfully accused of murder | KOB 4

17-year-old girl spends six days in custody after being wrongfully accused of murder

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: December 04, 2019 06:13 PM
Created: December 04, 2019 05:52 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A teenage girl's attorney says his client was arrested for murder after being mistaken for the actual murder suspect.

Gisell Estrada was wrongly charged for the July murder of Calvin Kelly. Police said he was killed during a set-up robbery outside the Retreat Apartments at Candelaria.

"She had never been in trouble," said Craig Acorn, Estrada’s defense attorney.

Estrada turned herself in after learning there was a warrant for her arrest, but because court documents were sealed, she had no idea why the warrant was issued. 

"How is this actually supposed to work in this country? You're actually supposed to know what you're accused of,” Acorn said.

Two people, one of them an APS employee, misidentified Estrada as the initial suspect.

Estrada stayed in juvenile detention for six days after prosecutors filed a motion for pretrial detention.

“This is a child. You should be careful. You should be careful about what you're accusing a child of,” Acorn said.

However, new court documents revealed Alexis “Lexi” Pina, aka Alexis Barraza, is now the one facing murder charges in Kelly’s slaying.

Court documents show, early on, investigators “did not want to put the wrong person in jail”.

Police blamed Estrada’s lawyers for not allowing her to give a statement to clear up the misidentification sooner.

"The idea that protecting her rights caused her to be incarcerated is absurd. And it's really troubling that they would even say something like that,” Acorn said.

Another suspect implicated in Kelly’s murder, Jassiah Montoya, told police that they had the “wrong Lexi”.

A spokesperson for the district attorney said there were doubts about the identity of the murder suspect in the days before her pretrial detention hearing, but it wasn’t proved they had the wrong person until the day after Estrada was released on her own recognizance.

Prosecutors filed a pretrial motion for Alexis Pina. She is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

APD did not reply to KOB 4’s request for comment.

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