Updated: October 15, 2021 05:58 PM
Created: October 15, 2021 02:22 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. — Jordan Nuñez was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in the child abuse death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia.
For the family of a teenage boy brutally beaten to death four years ago – justice is finally served, and they have closure. It's one of the most horrific child abuse cases in New Mexico history.
Friday was day four of Nuñez's sentencing hearing. He had pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Nuñez was facing up to 24 years in prison, but the judge combined two of the tampering with evidence charges, taking three years off the maximum sentence.
Nuñez showed no reaction as he heard the sentence.
During closing arguments Friday, prosecutors said Nunez's father, Thomas Ferguson, tortured and beat his girlfriend's son to death at the family's Nambe home in 2017. Prosecutors argued Nuñez – who was 19 at the time – could have saved Jeremiah from Ferguson's abuse and had the opportunity to stop it by calling police. Instead, he took part in it.
However, the defense said Nuñez didn't report it because he was afraid of Ferguson and traumatized – having also been abused by Ferguson as a child. The defense argued Ferguson used fear and intimidation to force Nuñez to take part in the abuse of Jeremiah.
The abuse included severe beatings – throwing a spear at him, shocking him with an electric collar and locking him in a dog kennel.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, Nuñez apologized to Jeremiah's family. KOB 4 has edited out the name of Jeremiah's sister to protect her identity.
"I want to start off by apologizing to (Jeremiah's sister) and the rest of Jeremiah's family," Nuñez said. "I am truly sorry for my failure to call 911 and that's one of my biggest mistakes and now that's something I have to live with for the rest of my life. Lord knows if I could go back and change everything, I would in a heartbeat."
Nuñez was the last person to be sentenced in the horrific case. Ferguson died of an apparent suicide in jail before his trial. Jeremiah's mom, Tracy Ann Pena, is serving 12 years as part of a plea deal for also not reporting the abuse.
Statement from District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies on the sentencing of Jordan Nuñez:
"The torture and murder of Jeremiah Valencia was an abject tragedy. No child should ever, ever have to suffer the way Jeremiah did. We are grateful that today, Jordan Nuñez has been held accountable for his part in these brutal acts that ended Jeremiah's innocent life. We offer our thanks to Judge Matthew Wilson, the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office, especially Detectives Alderete, Eccles, and Prentice, DA staff Shari Vialpando, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Padgett Macias for bringing Jordan Nuñez to justice."
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