A 13-year-old boy charged with murder in the slaying of a 22-year-old Eastern New Mexico University student cannot be charged as an adult.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said Monday state statute prevents prosecutors from seeking adult sanctions against DeAngelo Montoya because of his age.
Montoya was charged with murder Monday in the July 22 shooting death of Angel Vale of Roswell.
He has been held at the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center on burglary charges since July 24.
Portales Deputy Police Chief Lonnie Berry declined to discuss specifics about why the boy was charged with the slaying on Monday, but police had earlier disclosed they were awaiting DNA tests from the state crime lab.
Chandler said under state law the charges against Montoya are classified as a delinquent act and follow a different protocol than similar charges for adults.
“For a 13-year-old, you cannot file charges requesting it be considered a serious youthful offense and you cannot petition the court (for the case) to be considered for adult sanctions,” Chandler said.
The case will be presented as a first-degree murder case, although Chandler said that will have no effect on the sentencing.
Under state law, the maximum penalty a juvenile can face is incarceration up to age 21 in the custody of the Children, Youth and Family Department.
Chandler said the first step in the process will be a hearing to determine if Montoya will remain in custody for the duration of the case.
At some point following that hearing, Chandler said an adjudication hearing — similar to a trial in adult court — will be held.
“The burden is on the (district attorney’s) office to convince the court that this respondent is a serious risk to the community and a danger to himself,” he said.
“The (district attorney’s) office will advocate that the respondent needs to be held in detention for the safety of the community.”
Chandler said it is believed the burglary of Vale’s home was connected to the shooting and Vale and Montoya were acquaintances.
He declined to comment on a possible motive in the case.
Whether or not the proceedings are open and a matter of public record will be up to the discretion of the judge, Chandler said, due to the age of the defendant.
Police have said Montoya, a neighbor, burglarized Vale’s home several times in the weeks leading up to the homicide and at times took a .22-caliber rifle from her home into her backyard for target practice.
Vale was shot three times in a side yard of her home July 22.
Family members said she was moving out that day because the burglaries had made her concerned.
Montoya’s father, Byron Logan, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for second-degree murder in the 2004 shooting death of 31-year-old Tony Parker.
His mother, Bianca Pagan, declined comment.