Serial killer sentenced to 45 years behind bars
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A serial killer linked to multiple cold cases in Albuquerque was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty.
Judge Cindy Leos sentenced Paul Apodaca to a minimum of 45 years in prison on charges of rape and murder. He was facing five charges and pleaded guilty to all of them.
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.
In August, Apodaca’s attorney tried to get that confession thrown out. Two months later, a judge denied that motion.
Family members of the victims addressed Apodaca in the court hearing Thursday via Zoom.
“I want Apodaca to go to sleep every single night thinking about my little sister in a graveyard, rotting beneath a stone that speaks to our family’s love and loss,” said Kerry Arquette, Kaitlyn’s sister.
After the families spoke, Apodaca told the families he has cried “rivers of tears” for his victims.
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