Posted by Edmond Geary | Posted in Assault, Burglary, Criminal defense, Kidnapping, Murder | Posted on 31-03-2010
As criminal defense attorneys will tell you, an attorney is expected to defend someone suspected of a crime. That was not the case in New Mexico earlier this month. The lawyer called the police, but she did so when a man apparently told her to do so.
Lauren Oliveros called the police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to report a man walked into her law office and told her had killed two people the day before and wanted to turn himself in. The man told her where the bodies could be found.
Ralph Montoya wanted to give himself up. He was already on bail for attacking these very two victims weeks before. Police found the bodies of Stefanie Gray and her boyfirend, Hector Torres at Torres’ home. Ms. Gray was a high school teacher, and Torres was a professor of English at the University of New Mexico. Gray was also a graduate student at the University of New Mexico due to defend her thesis this month.
Following the tip from Montoya, police went to Torres’ home, kicked in the back door and found their bodies in the house. Police reported they found a handgun was in Torres’ left hand, pointing at his head. One officer said the handgun appeared to have been placed there, but that could be one of those “police opinions” that creep into the courtroom and are claimed to rest on some sort of expertise, but which are really based on nothing more than “hunch”. In other words, police routinely claim to know things that they really do not know. But none of that apparently matters to solving this case.
At the time of these deaths, Montoya was on bail for attacking Ms. Gary and Mr. Torres. In that earlier incident, Montoya reportedly forced his way into the front door, chased Gray into a back bedroom, jumped on her and kicked her, all while Torres was fighting him. Gray broke free, Montoya pulled a knife, and Torres started talking. Torres must have been a pretty good English professor because he talked Torres into dropping the knife.
Gray then obtained from the court in Sandoval County a restraining order against Montoya, who was then released on bail on the charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault on a household member and aggravated burglary. It was while on bail for this incident that Montoya allegedly confessed to going to Torres’ home and killing Gray and Torres.
This was not Montoya’s first rodeo. In 1995, Montoya pleaded guilty to charges of stalking, assault, attempted arson and attempted breaking and entering after a complaint from a student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruses. For that, he received probation for a year. But that was not enough, so in 1998, another woman from Las Cruses obtained a restraining order against Montoya. She claimed that Montoya had made 15 to 20 threatening telephone calls a day for two months and that she had seen him near apartment window several times.
With a belly still not full, Montoya had an incident in 2005 with a different woman, this one from Rio Rancho. She complained that Montoya had harassed her for a month after they had dated briefly. She said he would show up at her home at her new boyfriend’s home, but no charges were ever filed.
Nadine Hamby, spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department, summed up Montoya’s attitude pretty well. “Obviously ‘no’ was not something he wanted to hear,” Hamby said. As to the subjects of Montoya’s serial attention, she said: “It appears he wouldn’t leave them alone until he found someone new.”