What’s wrong with this picture?
Why is my picture hanging out on TV associated with Matthew and Michael Paul Astorga?
I guess in police work you just never get away from it.
On October 24, 1996, after work, I met Lt. Robert Huntsman for breakfast. As we finished, Huntsman was summoned by radio dispatch to the jail and told me to ride with him.
While traveling west on Menaul Blvd., going under the Big-I, the alert tone sounded and the radio dispatcher announced a shooting at Albuquerque High School at Crespin and Edith.
Huntsman turned south on Edith, telling radio dispatch he was in the area. When he turned east on Crespin and reached High St,. a man without a shirt ran into the street yelling for an ambulance.
Huntsman followed the man up the driveway while I followed, covering him.
There were several people in different areas around the outside of the house.
Two men lay bleeding on the ground, one in very serious condition.
I saw several spent 12-gauge shotgun shells on the ground at the corner of a raised patio.
As other Albuquerque police officers and a Bernalillo County sheriff's sergeant arrived, I backed out of the immediate scene to secure the driveway to keep onlookers out, and direct fire rescue and ambulance personnel.
I found a live .380 round lying in the middle of the sidewalk on the east side of the house.
I stood over the cartridge protecting the evidence until I was relieved.
A channel 7 KOAT-TV News photographer videotaped me standing over the evidence.
On May 8, 1997, I attended a pre-trial conference at the District Attorneys office with Assistant District Attorney W. "Winnie" Ann Maggoria who was handling the case against Matthew and Michael Astorga for the murder of Jose Maldonado-Sigala.
She decided I was not needed to testify because of the more detailed work completed by the field officers, detectives and criminalists.
When Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff James McGrane Jr. was killed on March 22, 2006, Michael Paul Astorga was named as the suspect. The Astorga name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t figure out why I knew it.
KOAT TV’s Action 7 News anchor Doug Fernandez started promoting a jailhouse interview he did with Matthew Astorga, who had been convicted of the murder of Maldonado-Sigala. His brother, Michael Paul Astorga was acquitted.
Apparently, Matthew Astorga appealed his conviction claiming he’d acted in self-defense. The State Appeals court overturned the conviction because the jury was not given the option of considering the charge of voluntary manslaughter. The case was returned to District Court for a new trial. Instead of going to trial, Matthew Astorga entered into an agreement with prosecutors based on a plea to second-degree murder.
He served time and was placed on probation, which he violated. He was sent back to complete his original sentence. He is scheduled for release within weeks.
I began to remember the details of this incident.
Another brother, U.S. Army Private Anthony Lucero, was convicted in a military trial of the 2001 killing of a soldier in Albuquerque and was sentenced to life without parole at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.