Man arrested in murder of 11-year-old boy to remain behind bars

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two of the three men charged with murdering 11-year-old Froylan Villegas had to face a judge Wednesday.

Nathen Garley was up first to find out if he’d stay in jail until his trial. Garley showed up to court but did not have a defense attorney assigned to his case yet, so they postponed his hearing.

Jose Romero was next – his pretrial detention hearing went on for more than an hour. The state had one witness, a homicide detective on the case, who went through what happened that night and how Romero was involved. That testimony was enough to keep him behind bars.

“He was the one that drives up next to the pickup truck, he is the one that slows down and makes sure the shooter is in position so that his truck can be riddled with bullets,” prosecutor Lawrence Hansen said. “We believe Mr. Romero and Mr. Garley were acting in concert in an attempt to kill the Vasquez family, but, unfortunately, hits the Villegas family.”

Meanwhile, Romero’s defense said the fact that he was driving and not shooting should be enough to release him under strict conditions.

“According to Gomez, who was in the vehicle, Mr. Romero freaks out – I think that is a strong indicator that this is not something that was planned, that he knew was going to happen,” defense attorney David Silva said. “More importantly, there is no indication that he was ever in possession of a gun or he shot a gun.”

However, Judge Emeterio Rudolfo disagreed.

“I just don’t find it credible to think he was not aware of what was likely to happen if he slowed down and allowed the co-defendant the opportunity to shoot up this vehicle,” Rudolfo said.

Ultimately, the judge granted the state’s motion for pretrial detention. Romero will remain behind bars until trial.

The other codefendants, Garley and Daniel Gomez, are set to have their hearings later this week.