Homicide victim’s family reacts to judge’s decision
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – When a judge decided Tuesday afternoon to let Adrian Avila out of jail on a GPS ankle monitor, the Otero family couldn’t believe what they heard.
"I was absolutely devastated,” said Alicia Otero. "There was a lot of evidence and to hear that was just heartbreaking."
Alicia’s son Elias was shot and killed after at least two suspects kidnapped his younger brother and attempted to rob him. He led his attackers to his brother’s house in February of last year. One of them was Adrian Avila, who police say pulled the trigger after things escalated at Elias’s home.
"I just know that he’s dangerous,” said Alicia Otero, about Adrian Avila. “He’s dangerous to the community, he’s dangerous to law enforcement officers, he’s a danger to us. We’re scared right now for ourselves, for our son that he did kidnap."
Otero has tried to take proactive steps since her son’s death to help reform New Mexico’s criminal justice system, and get justice.
"I have gathered families together to let them know they’re not alone, we have together created a group of mothers who have lost their children, we have fought legislation to try and change the laws,” said Otero.
But with every step forward, has come more steps back.
"How do I give hope to other families? How do I give hope to other families if I couldn’t even get justice for my son? It has just been an emotional rollercoaster for us,” said Otero. “I take this as a big loss for us, we relive this over and over again. And this has just been pain to my very core."
The other suspect in Elias’s case, Anna Bella Dukes, turned herself into police in January, about a month after Adrian Avila. She waived her pretrial detention hearing, and is still in jail.