What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Anonymous, you’re still out there. You’ve asked a fair question:
Can you give us an update as to when Michael Astorga will go on trial? Thank you.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
The Astorga trial is currently scheduled to begin the first week of May, according to Attorney Public Information Officer Davis Patrick of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office.
The trial will take place in the Bernalillo County District Courthouse, above, in downtown Albuquerque, on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Lomas Boulevard. It will be before New Mexico State District Court Judge Neil Candelaria.
There are no further motions, on either side expected and discovery and jury selection questionnaires are being prepared, Davis said. Astorga is facing the death penalty.
Michael Paul Astorga is accused of shooting to death Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff James McGrane Jr. on March 22, 2006, during a traffic stop in Tijeras.
I’ve reported on the arrest of Michael’s brother Matthew Astorga of rural Lansing, Kan., when he was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and fleeing or alluding police. He is now serving 50 years mandatory prison. Matthew has been charged with additional counts of battery on an inmate and county corrections officer, making a criminal threat and damage to property in a jailhouse incident. At sentencing he spoke twice to his victim’s mother in Spanish that was not interpreted, according to Lansing This Week’s Staff Writer John Richmeir.
The Astorga brothers and a half brother, Anthony Lucero have been accused or convicted of the death of five men. Matthew Astorga and Lucero are in Kansas prisons.
Based on my reporting, an anonymous commenter questioning why Matthew Astorga’s activities were being reported in Albuquerque.
The anonymous commenter posted a second time, leaving her name. She tried to defend Astorga’s action as self-defense. She is a an anti-death penalty advocate who befriended the Astorga’s mother and has taken up the cause of the Astorga family.
Family and friends of Astorga and the victim took to commenting on blogs and attempted to use my site. I found that some of the comments appeared to be attempts to threaten and intimidate each other. I moderated the comments and did not post them.
I’ve never been face to face with any of the Astorgas or Lucero. However, in observing and reading facts in these cases, a pattern seems to have emerged, especially with regards to Matthew.
Although both Michael and Matthew were put on trial of the murder of Maldonado-Sigala only Matthew was convicted, Michael was acquitted.
In a prison interview with KOAT TV’s Action 7 News Anchor Doug Fernandez, Matthew stated he would do anything for his big brother Michael. It seems he took full blame for murder of Jose Maldonado-Sigala even though there was evidence that Michael was present.
The telling pattern was that Astorga’s claim of self-defense was preceded by some insult to him or his family that caused him to go to the home of the men who were killed, calling them out, engaging in an argument that escalated into a fight and Matthew then shot the victims.
Law enforcement, district attorneys, juries, and courts tend to see that as premeditated murder, not self-defense.