Attorney for accused serial killer files motion to throw out murder confession

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Could the key piece of evidence keeping an accused serial killer behind bars be the same evidence that gets him out?

In 2021, Paul Apodaca confessed to three murders dating back to 1988. But his attorney says that confession is no good.

Detective: “So, where did you shoot Kaitlyn?”

Paul Apodaca: “In the head.”

Two years ago, in a University of New Mexico holding cell, Albuquerque police detectives finally got the answers they had been waiting more than 30 years for.

Detective: “Why did you do it?”

Paul Apodaca: “I had (inaudible) my heart.”

Detective: “You had what in your heart?”

Paul Apodaca: “Anger.”

Police say Paul Apodaca confessed to three cold-case murders after he was arrested in July 2021 for a probation violation.

He told police detectives he killed UNM student Althea Oakley in 1988, 13-year-old Stella Gonzales that same year, and 18-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette in 1989.

But, in newly-filed court documents, Apodaca’s attorney is asking a judge to throw out that confession calling it “unconstitutional.”  He pointed to “improper conduct” by the officers involved.

It starts with UNM officers stopping Apodaca on that probation violation. 

Documents allege Apodaca was never read his rights before then admitting to the murders and being questioned about it. That brings us to the confession with Albuquerque police.

Detective: “Is he good to hang out for a few minutes?”

Court documents allege the paramedics were told to hold off while APD questioned Apodaca. Though he was slowly read his rights.

Detective: “Do you know what you’re saying and doing right now?

Apodaca: “I do.”

Apodaca’s attorney alleges the detective questioned him despite recognizing he didn’t understand and needed mental health treatment. What happens next will be up to a judge.

District Attorney Sam Bregman sent KOB 4 a statement saying, in part:

“We are hopeful and confident Apodaca’s constitutional rights were protected, and we believe the judge will deny the defense motion.”