Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men With Cinder Blocks

Alysa Landry
7/24/14

Navajo President Ben Shelly is calling for answers in the gruesome murders of two homeless Navajo men last weekend in Albuquerque.

The victims, whose names have not yet been released, were beaten so brutally with a cinder block and other objects that they were unrecognizable. Their bodies, one lying on a mattress and one on the ground, were found Saturday morning in an open field in northwest Albuquerque.

Three teenagers, Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are each being charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. The teens likely will be tried as adults and all could face life in prison.

During their first appearance in court Monday, bail was set at $5 million for each of them. But even with suspects behind bars, New Mexico’s largest city and the neighboring Navajo Nation are still reeling from the attack.

President Shelly has requested a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, during which he hopes to discuss ways to assist the city’s homeless population. The teens charged in the murders claimed to have attacked as many as 50 other homeless people during the past year, according to court records.

“Innocent men do not deserve to be murdered in their sleep,” Shelly said in a press release. “It’s beyond senseless that these teens would attack homeless people in this manner.”

The Albuquerque Police Department, which is under federal Justice Department scrutiny because of its high number of officer-related shootings – including a March incident during which an officer shot and killed a homeless Native man – was appalled by the violence of the recent attack, spokesman Simon Drobik said.

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“My stomach turns when I think about it,” he said. “When all you know is that two people are dead and juveniles are in custody, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. It was such a heinous crime and the nature of violence was so traumatic.”

The teens told police that they went out after a party looking for “someone to beat up,” according to the criminal complaint. Tafoya reportedly was upset because he recently broke up with a longtime girlfriend.

They tied black T-shirts around their faces in an attempt to conceal their identities then walked to a field near two of the teens’ homes, where they found three subjects sleeping on mattresses. One of the victims managed to run away, but the teens repeatedly beat the other two men with their hands and feet, as well as cinder blocks, wooden sticks and a metal fence post.

According to Tafoya’s statement to police, the teens “took turns picking cinder blocks over their heads and smashing them into the male subjects’ faces.” Tafoya admitted to using the cinder block as a weapon more than 10 times.

Drobik called the case “specifically brutal” because it involves two vulnerable populations: teenagers and homeless.

“Kids are killing transients,” he said. “My initial response was: who failed these kids? How did they get to this point in life where they thought this was an acceptable thing to do? It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.”

The victims’ bodies were transported to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. A spokeswoman for that office confirmed the men were Native, but declined to release their names. It could take up to 90 days for autopsy reports to be complete, she said.

Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)

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Grayhorse's picture
Grayhorse
Submitted by Grayhorse on
This should have never happened. These teens should be tried as an adult. They are big enough to murder, they should be tried as an adult. How long have they been doing this before getting caught.

Leather Sammie
Leather Sammie
Submitted by Leather Sammie on
Parents who allow their children to have and play violent video games or watch movies like the Freddy Kruger movies are largely at fault for the surge violence we are seeing by teens. It desensitizes them to violence and teaches them that the way to deal with anger, disappointment and frustration is through violence. They should get the death penalty by the same method they killed those men.

bullbear's picture
bullbear
Submitted by bullbear on
There was a time when parents were held accountable for the actions of their children, teenagers on down. I, for one, would also like to know what their parents/guardians have to say. More than likely, "I told little Johnny to stay away from the bad influences" and that is the extent of their parental responsibilities. The legal defense will be that they were either under the influence of drugs or a behavioral problem that prevented them from knowing what was right and what was wrong. Their sentence will be run its course and in 8-10 years they will be back out on the streets. Meanwhile the family of these senselessly killed men will never get over their brutal deaths and not comprehend what they did to be so mercilessly beaten to death. It is as if these sick young men found joy in hurting so many for so long that it became like a drug they could not get enough of. Absolutely sickening to the core !!

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
What is wrong with these young people today that they have no reverence for another human being & do such things as this? Where is the adult guidance & stability in their lives? ......................................................................................................................... It is beyond me to understand this sort of cold-hearted killing with no logic & reason. These sort of murderers seem to be without any human decency & soul. What is it with so many of the young people today that they seem so callus, without heart & feelings? I cannot understand what goes on in young ones lives to turn them into unfeeling killers of total strangers who never hurt them in any way. ......................................................................................................................... Just look at these young folks eyes. They seem cold, distant & without any sort of feelings. The brutality & viciousness of their rage against these strangers shows me a deep pain from within their spirit. Somewhere at some time some event or series of events brought them to this point in their lives. ......................................................................................................................... It is sad that these 3 young people decided they wanted to throw the rest of their lives away. This sort of rage is unnatural & comes from pure evil that came to dwell within these people. Perhaps evil wasn't invited to come live in them, but their lives & actions show they did nothing to resist their impulses. Some may say evil is just someone's imagination, but one thing is for sure, an evil thing sure happened to these homeless ones. There is no other way to describe what these 3 young people did to these 2 homeless men: Evil! ........................................................................................................................ Is life what these 3 deserve? No. They deserve death upon conviction. No sitting around in prison at the tax payers support for years. You cannot fix people who are evil. You can only take them out of the world so as to stop them from hurting others or reproducing any more.

swrussel's picture
swrussel
Submitted by swrussel on
Mr. Growling, based on over 40 years of dealing with these sorts of cases, I must agree with you that evil persons exist. I've met two, out of thousands. I do not trust the system I worked in all those years to sort the evil ones out. If, by evil, you mean those persons convicted of capital murder, we know you are wrong when you say they can't be fixed because of what happened to the so-called Furman Cohort, the persons paroled off death row when the US death penalty was briefly held to be unconstitutional. Those persons had a lower crime rate than people who had never been to prison and the only homicides in the bunch were committed by one guy who should never have been paroled by any standards because his evil was fairly obvious. Finally, you need to know that it costs more, way more, to kill a convict that it does to lock him or her up for life without possibility of parole. That's leaving aside that if some DNA comes along to show you made a mistake, you can have something to say besides "Oops" if the mistakenly convicted person is serving life.

100IndigenousAmerican's picture
100IndigenousAm...
Submitted by 100IndigenousAm... on
The mentality that Native Americans are a lesser human being continues from the first white colonization. The crimes the last 30 years are on record in news archives for Farmington, Gallup, and Albuquerque. It never surface until now, the problem is in education. Many parents, grandparents, and leaders from these abusive communities lack education in science and humanity. I am sure you can all research the news in your area across U.S. and quantify the crimes of hate. What you will get is systematic denial. Some of you have acculturated and have self-only perspective and will choose to ignore it. For those with humanity, do the researches, help change the world, and protect your brothers and sisters.

bullbear's picture
bullbear
Submitted by bullbear on
Mr. Russel, please don't start talking about costs involved in keeping a convicted murder in prison vs death penalty. When you do, you lose sight of the value of human life which no one can morally place upon individuals. The fact remains that there are many felons who have served their time, were released, only to kill or rape again. The article tells us that one of the teens admitted and described how they used the cinder block. If you must play devil's advocate, please don't paint gray areas where none needs to be painted.

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Judge Russel, I appreciate your rebuttal regarding this article. I know you speak from the standpoint of modern justice system viewpoints. I, however, was not. I believe in the ways of the ancestors when dealing justice. The white man's justice is far too drawn out, costs far more than it should & is delayed for far too many years for death sentences. ......................................................................................................................... I have seen cases through the years that justice was neither swift nor was it true justice for those who had the money to delay, debate & whittle a felony down to a misdemeanor charge. At the same time I have seen cases where justice was bought off, perverted or blind to the truth when a poor person was railroaded & sent up the river so to speak. ......................................................................................................................... I have lost confidence in justice for all over the past few decades for those in the USA. Justice has perverted itself in many different places in a number of ways. Too many cases the outcome has been settled behind closed doors & that courtroom trial has been but a formality. Money is everything in a criminal case. With it criminals have walked free. Without it, the poor many times are sent to prison. ......................................................................................................................... There is a Judge in the end of time who WILL right ALL wrongs. The Creator despises injustice when the law has showed favor based on income & social status. The longer I live the more I see so much that shouldn't be that is. The USSC & some of their rulings over the past few years is a prime example of the insanity that has prevailed in those hallowed halls. Money truly does buy laws & common sense be damned!
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