Albuquerque, NM – A district court judge in Albuquerque ruled on Tuesday that a man charged with two murders could be released from jail with an ankle monitor while he awaits trial.
Police said that Adrian Avila and Anna Dukes are charged with luring a man via social media in February of 2021 and then kidnapping him, KRQE reported.
When the man went to meet with Dukes, Avila and two other suspects held him at gunpoint and robbed him, demanding cash, jewelry, and a gun, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.
Prosecutors said that the four kidnappers drove their victim to his home and when they arrived, their victim’s brother – 24-year-old Elias Otero – came out of the house and threatened to shoot the people holding his brother hostage, KRQE reported.
Otero was a former correction’s officer.
Police said that was when Avila fatally shot Otero, KRQE reported.
Avila was charged with Otero’s murder and turned himself in on a warrant in December of 2021, KOAT reported.
Last week, he was also charged with the murder of Donnie Brandon at Sandia Vista Park in August of 2020, KOB reported.
Avila appeared for an arraignment via video before District Court Judge Stanley Whitaker on March 22.
Prosecutors argued that Avila – who was accused of murdering two people in two separate incidents – was too dangerous to be released prior to trial, KOB reported.
But Whitaker said that while prosecutors had enough to charge Avila, he didn’t think they had proven that he was a credible threat to the community who should be remanded to custody.
Prosecutors were outraged, KOB reported.
“I think it’s frankly astonishing that somebody can stand accused of not just one, but two separate murders, pretty violent acts they’re brought before the court and they’re put back out on the streets,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez said after the judge ruled.
The judge granted Avila’s release but required him to wear a GPS monitor and have a curfew, KOB reported.
Albuquerque police were also furious that the accused murder had been released from jail.
“This is beyond upsetting. This jeopardizes the safety of our community, including our officers,” the department tweeted.
A judge released a murder suspect from jail today on an ankle monitor. Adrian Avila is charged for 2 separate murders. Think about that. Two murders. This suspect is at the root of the gun violence we’re seeing in Albuquerque and the record number of homicides. pic.twitter.com/YT0wtLQXVr
— Albuquerque Police Department (@ABQPOLICE) March 22, 2022
Torrez said Avila’s release was the result of a broken New Mexico law that uses the Arnold tool to analyze how dangerous an incarcerated person would be if they were released and how like they are to appear for trial, KOAT reported.
Despite facing two murder charges, the Arnold tool rated Avila low-risk, scoring him a 2 out of 7 for criminal activity and a 1 on the failure to appear scale.
“The ankle monitor is not the answer for somebody who has a violent history or a violent charge on their hands,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said. “And if the Arnold tool needs to be changed, let’s stop talking about it and actually get it done.”
Torrez said his office planned to appeal the judge’s ruling, KOAT reported.
“We’ve made the decision already to file an appeal of that order and seek review from an appellate court and ask that Mr. Avila be remanded into custody pending the outcome of not just one, but two separate murder cases,” the prosecutor said.
Chief Medina said that Avila was still under investigation for several other crimes of which he was suspected in the Albuquerque area, KOAT reported.