Suspect in murder near Route 66 Casino changes plea

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A man charged with murdering an Albuquerque father and kidnapping his sister changed his plea from not guilty to guilty Monday.

Edgar Camacho owned up to charges of second-degree murder and kidnapping for the 2021 shooting of Esteban Mercado, and the kidnapping of his sister Alejandra Mercado.

It happened on the West Mesa not far from Route 66 Casino. The brother and sister were doing some target practice.

Investigators say they were approached by Camacho and Erick Garcia, who offered to sell Esteban a gun. 

The sale didn’t happen, and the men left. But, they later returned, just as the brother and sister were having car trouble. They helped get the car running and then chaos unfolded.

“One of them just pulled out a gun, and he just shot my brother four times in his chest,” Alejandra had previously said in 2021. 

Alejandra was forced into her brother’s car at gunpoint, but she managed to escape before things got worse. 

“I noticed there was a good amount of traffic as we were pulling up to a turn. So that’s when I just slowly took off my seat belt and unlocked the door, and I just quickly jumped out,” Alejandra said.

“We’d be able to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt on information and belief,” said Derek Berg, a prosecutor. 

Both the prosecutors and defense say this plea deal is in the best interest of everyone involved. 

In exchange for his plea, Camacho had charges in a separate case dropped. 

“Which is a very minor case, but it is being dismissed as part of this plea,” said Kelly Golightley, a defense attorney. 

Under the agreement, Camacho will be sentenced to 36 years, with 25 of those served in prison. 

While the sentence is known, an official sentencing will happen at a later date to give Mercado’s family a chance to address the court.