Albuquerque woman charged with husband’s murder

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police arrested Erica Valdez Thursday and charged her with the murder of her husband, Joel Valdez.

Police said, according to relatives, the couple had been fighting for the past few months. The fights between them escalated in the past week as Erica and Joel accused each other of having relationships outside their marriage.

Police said Joel confronted Erica and another man at a motel on the Fourth of July. The man pointed a handgun at Joel. Erica also appeared at the doorway with a handgun, and Joel left the motel.

Later that evening, just before 10 p.m., Erica showed up at the home she shared with Joel and pointed a handgun at his chest. As Erica left the home, surveillance video revealed a volley of automatic gunfire in the area. Damage from gunfire was later located at the house. A relative also reported that Erica called and said, “I just sprayed the house.”

APD received a 911 call from the home and the 911 call-taker heard a female screaming at the male, stating, “I am going to shoot you and hit you with this gun.” The confrontation continued, and the female could be heard saying, “You better get that female out of the house before I shoot her.”

Officers attempted to make contact at the home but did not locate anyone.

Additional surveillance showed the same car return to the area shortly after 11 p.m. and another verbal altercation can be seen. As the car left, another volley of automatic gunfire could be heard.

Family members arrived in the area and went to look for Joel because they had learned Erica had shot at the home. They spotted Joel’s car with the door open, and noticed a dark sedan that appeared to be Erica’s car make a U-turn and leave the area. They found Joel’s body on the road, next to his car. First responders arrived at the scene and determined Joel died as a result of a gunshot wound.

APD detectives arrested Erica Thusday afternoon and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on an open count of murder, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, shooting at a dwelling or occupied building and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Erica appeared in court Friday. She will remain in custody at least until her pretrial detention hearing next week.