Man accused of stabbing father to death appears in court

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Joseph Banuelos Jr. faced a judge Monday for his first appearance on murder charges. The hearing was brief, and Banuelos Jr. did not speak. 

Banuelos Jr. was arrested Saturday after he showed up at the Route 66 Travel Center covered in blood, and reportedly told workers he murdered his father.

In a newly filed detention motion, prosecutors say Banuelos Jr.’s past history shows he cannot be safely released back into the community.  

KOB 4 took a look at that history. He was first arrested in 2015 after his sister accused him of choking her. But court documents show those charges were ultimately dropped. 

He also picked up charges in 2020 and 2021 which were also dropped after Banuelos Jr. completed a court program.

Benuelos Jr. was arrested three times in October 2022. The first arrest came after Banuelos Jr. reportedly threatened his father with a tire iron.

During another incident, his mother reported he broke into his parents home, and she feared he would hurt her again.

He was also charged with breaking and entering on Oct. 20. In those instances, his parents noted Banuelos Jr. was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was not taking his medication. 

Documents show Banuelos Jr. took a plea deal in those cases. He pleaded guilty of breaking and entering in exchange for other charges being dropped. 

His sentence was also suspended on the condition he complete a mental health court program. 

Then, on Saturday, Joseph Banuelos Sr. was found dead. 

Banuelos Jr.’s next hearing will be held within 10 days to decide if he will stay in jail.