3 convicted teen killers sentenced Monday

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Monday, the three men responsible for torturing and killing two teenagers learned their fate.

Collin Romero and Ahmed Lateef disappeared in December 2018. After days of searching, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office found their bodies buried in a shallow grave on the mesa west of Rio Rancho.

It was an emotional day in court Monday. Multiple mothers stood up before a judge advocating for their sons. The judge called it one of the most difficult cases he’s ever seen in his 17-year career.

Prosecutors say it started when Ahmed Lateef attempted to buy a gun from Stephen Goldman Jr. 

“Ahmed told Goldman, ‘I’m going to set up the fool who robbed me,’ as the reason why he wanted to buy the gun,” said the prosecutor. “Goldman responds and asks, ‘Who robbed you?’ Ahmed replied, ‘That white boy Flex.’”

“Flex” is the nickname for Jimmie Atkins.

Prosecutors said because of that Goldman Jr. set up a fake sale and said he wanted to buy marijuana from Lateef and Collin Romero. 

Instead, prosecutors say Stephen Goldman Jr, Jimmie Atkins, and Julio Almentero kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately murdered the teens.  

Almentero’s uncle, Anthony Aragon, helped to bury the bodies. He took a plea deal in 2021 for tampering with evidence charges, and testified about this role during the trial. 

Q: “And what was the reason for needing to bury the bodies?”

A: “Because the missing boys were all over the news that they were missing.” 

Stephen Goldman Sr. admitted to destroying the car used during the murder. He also took a plea deal in 2021, and testified during the trial as part of that deal. 

Q: “What did he want you to do with the car?”

A: “He really didn’t want me to do anything with the car, I am the one that suggested, you know what I mean, to dispose of the car.” 

After two weeks of going through evidence and hearing testimony, the jury returned its guilty verdict to all three men.

For the families of the victims, the verdict was justice. 

“It does bring some closure to this chapter of not only recovery for me and my family, but for the boys. That way, maybe they can rest a little bit easier now knowing that they’re not going- to these people aren’t going to go and do this to anybody else,” said Amanda Kimbrel, Collin’s Romero’s mother.

Monday’s sentencing of two consecutive life sentences brings the case to a close.