Teen accused of shooting, killing homeless man in 2018 sentenced

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There is finally some semblance of justice for a homeless man murdered in Albuquerque five years ago. One of the two teens who killed him learned his fate Wednesday.

Timothy Chavez and Anthony Gallegos were 15 and 17 years old when they shot that man “for fun.” They’ve both taken plea deals. 

“We are here for sentencing this afternoon following a plea agreement Mr. Chavez took back on Dec. 22,” Second Judicial Court Judge Courtney Weaks said. 

Chavez appeared virtually in front of the judge Wednesday. Even though he is 21 years old now and being sentenced as an adult, Chief Judge Ward asked all media outlets not to show Chavez’s face during today’s hearing.

But we did get to hear him apologize for his actions:

“Your honor I would first like to apologize to Ronnie Ross’ family for what happened, and what I did. Sincerely from my heart, I’m sorry for the pain I caused,” Chavez said.

Chavez has been in jail since 2018. He was just 15 when police say he and Gallegos shot and killed Ronnie Ross on Menual near I-25 in 2018.

Investigators say Ross was shot 12 times. Then, the teens went to a house party where they bragged they killed the homeless man for fun.

Last December, Chavez officially accepted a plea deal where he would plead guilty to one count of first-degree murder and the sentencing would drop from 30 to 15 years maximum.

After hearing testimony from Chavez’s family and the work he has done while incarcerated, Weaks reduced the sentence even further.

“For the charge of first-degree murder willful and deliberate you are facing up to 30 years, the court is sentencing you to 13 years in the Department of Corrections,” Weaks said.

Chavez will also be on probation for five years after his sentence. He cannot drink, use drugs, or own a gun. He must also serve 100 hours of community service educating children about the danger of gun violence.

The other suspect in this case, Gallegos, also accepted a plea deal of up to 15 years in prison for the murder charge. His sentencing is expected to happen in November.