APD chief, commander speak out on release of murder suspect

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque police leaders are speaking out after 18-year-old Adrian Avila was released on house arrest.

"The ankle monitor is not the answer for somebody who has a violent history or a violent charge on their hands,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.

Avila is connected to 2 different homicides in Albuquerque. APD investigators revealed he used social media to set up robberies which ended with murder. Avila’s conditions of release state he is not allowed to use a phone or social media while under house arrest, but APD investigators say that is hard to enforce.

"Social media is designed to be anonymous, quickly create multiple accounts, anyone can go by a phone that’s not registered anywhere,” said Deputy Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division Kyle Hartstock. “I’m not sure how pretrial services can actually enforce these things, and keep the community safe at all.”

GPS ankle monitors have been a controversial topic in recent months.

In August, 4 Investigates exposed a lack in supervision of suspects on house arrest. We found two different cases where suspects left their home and committed violent crimes without law enforcement ever knowing. Because of that report, the New Mexico Judiciary expanded GPS monitoring to 24/7 in September. Then in March, New Mexico state lawmakers approved an extra $4 million to ensure constant supervision across the state.

Medina believes some suspects should not be put on an ankle monitor in the first place.

"I don’t think that we could rely on a ankle monitor to keep people safe from individuals who have shown that they’re not afraid to kill people,” he said.

Medina said he believes New Mexico’s pretrial detention system is giving too many accused violent offenders the chance to potentially commit more crimes.

"We got to stop being reactive that this individual did something to violate the conditions of their release and we’re now looking to pick them up, when we should be thinking, how do we make sure this individual can’t commit any other crimes,” he said.