Will a New Mexico Man Who Murdered His Parents and 3 Siblings Walk Free?
A 21-year-old New Mexico man who murdered his parents and three of his younger siblings when he was 15 is appearing before an Albuquerque judge this week who will decide whether he will be released, PEOPLE confirms.
On Monday, Nehemiah Griego appeared before Judge John Romero for his amenability hearing, a Second District Court official tells PEOPLE. The hearing — during which Romero will review interviews about the case with members of Griego’s family as well as with local authorities — will continue through the week, the official says.
Because he was sentenced as a juvenile, he was eligible for released in March, KRQE reports.
Griego has been behind bars since he fatally shot his parents and three younger siblings, ages 9, 5 and 2, in their South Valley home one morning in January 2013.
The attacks began around 1 a.m. when the teen murdered his mother in her sleep and then forced his 9-year-old brother to look at her bloody face before shooting the boy. He then shot his 5- and 2-year-old sisters as they wept in fear, PEOPLE previously reported.
After killing his mother and siblings, Griego waited nearly four hours for his father to come home before killing him.
RELATED: Boy, 15, Fatally Shoots Five Family Members Then Goes to Church: Cops
He told police he then reloaded his weapons, which included an AR-15 assault rifle, and took the family’s van “so that he could drive to a populated area to murder more people.”
Instead, Griego went to the church where his father was a pastor and confessed to the murders. He later pleaded guilty to second degree murder, the court official tells PEOPLE.
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At the time, Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said the attack went “beyond any human reasoning or understanding.”
“It’s horrific, what other word do you use?” Houston said. “It’s the first time I’ve been to a crime scene with this much destruction.”
Griego’s father, Greg Griego, was a volunteer firefighter in addition to his duties as the pastor of a local church. His mother Sara homeschooled many of their 10 children.
In the past, Griego’s family has spoken out against him, saying he had not been rehabilitated, KRQE reports.
“You know he murdered five people and for him to do that, I don’t think anybody can come back from that,” Griego’s older sister, Vanessa Lightbourne, told the station in January. “I personally would like him to stay behind bars. I think he is a danger to society and he’s a danger to our family.”
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