Man sentenced to life in prison for 2021 murder

Man sentenced to life in prison for 2021 murder

Three years of hearings and a trial came down to three minutes in court Tuesday for Angel Alire.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Three years of hearings and a trial came down to three minutes in court Tuesday for Angel Alire.

“I hope that today will give me some kind of peace to be able to navigate through this new normal,” said Alire. 

She addressed Judge Joseph Montano minutes before he sentenced her son’s killer – Devon Munford – to life in prison plus 25 years.

“I hope that from this day forward, Mr. Munford regrets what he did and realizes he was never somebody so important or above the law,” said Alire.

Munford killed Alire’s son, Devon Heyborne, in 2021. 

Witnesses testified during trial that Munford went on a violent rampage, including murder and armed robbery – when he was out of jail on an ankle monitor for a different crime.

“Nobody should have to die for someone to take their job seriously,” Alire said.

Heyborne’s death helped expose holes in the state’s pretrial monitoring system. An investigation proved the state was not monitoring suspects after business hours, or on weekends.

Alire played a role in changing that, but that was only half of her mission.

“Our problem really does lie within our system and our laws. They know that they’re lax, they know that they’re going to get away with it. And so why wouldn’t they go out and commit these crimes?” said Alire.

Pretrial detention is the other half. She wants to see the state’s revolving door stop.

“It’s not just a concealed carry problem, it’s not a registered weapon problem, it’s not a where you can or can’t carry your guns problem,” Alire said.

Alire partnered with recently-elected City Councilor Dan Champine on a memorial to urge legislators to consider the issue. 

“I’m just calling on that them to not let this topic, these bills and these issues, die on committee floor. Take it to the Senate and the House floor and let everybody discuss it,” said Champine. 

Champine retired from Albuquerque Police Department in 2023. He saw the effects of the current system on the streets every day. 

“You would come in contact with the same criminal over and over and over again, and it wasn’t just, you know, ‘Hey, I just got released, or I’ve been out, and I served my time.’ That was, ‘I still have three pending cases,’” Champine said. 

Champine and Alire know change will take a team effort, and they hope to finally see it in the Roundhouse over the next few weeks. 

“If all of us know the problem. Why can’t we fix it?” said Alire.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez – who was the district attorney at the time – spoke after Tuesday’s sentencing. He said there was some justice delivered, but the sad truth is it never should’ve happened. 

Torrez said there couldn’t be a better example for legislators to look to for proof there is need for change.

Pretrial detention is on the governor’s agenda, so we have another 29 days to see how legislators act on it.