Affidavit: Inmate sought to kill NM CO who 'disrepected' him

Police believe inmates conspired to kill a CO with weapons fashioned from parts of a steel fence and a metal door


By Justin Horwath
The Santa Fe New Mexican

SANTA FE, N.M. — Authorities on Wednesday charged three inmates of the state penitentiary south of Santa Fe with attempted murder in what state police believe was a conspiracy to kill a prison guard with weapons fashioned from parts of a steel fence and a metal door.

An arrest affidavit says inmate Lorenzo A. Martinez, 25, of Farmington told Deputy Warden Aaron Vigil in an interview following the Aug. 3 assault that he had planned to kill corrections officer Allan Rico because the officer had “disrespected” him.

Lorenzo A. Martinez. (Photo/New Mexico DOC)
Lorenzo A. Martinez. (Photo/New Mexico DOC)

State police say Rico was patting down another prisoner, Carlos Jesus Mendez, 26, of Albuquerque, who engaged Rico in conversation as a “distraction” that allowed two inmates to attack Rico with shanks.

Video recordings show that as Mendez turned around during the pat-down, inmate Joe A. Martinez, 32, of Raton approached Rico from behind and repeatedly struck Rico in the head with a shank several times, the affidavit says. That’s when Lorenzo Martinez began attacking Rico from the front with his own shank, the document says.

Chaos unfolded for a few frightening moments, according to the complaint, as Lorenzo Martinez then attacked another corrections officer, Dominic Yara, after Yara discharged pepper spray at the prisoners. After Rico fell to the ground, Joe Martinez placed his knee on Rico’s neck, the complaint says, and repeatedly hit Rico with the shank.

A corrections officer watching from an observation deck fired three rounds from a “less-lethal” shotgun, ending the attack, according to the complaint.

Rico and Yara were treated and released from the hospital the day of the attack.

Lorenzo Martinez claimed ownership of a shank made from part of a metal door, according to the affidavit. He faces felony charges of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner. He also faces a third-degree felony charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

A judge in August 2016 sentenced Lorenzo Martinez to nine years and six months in prison on charges of battery on a peace officer and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, said S.U. Mahesh, spokesman for the Corrections Department. Jail records show he previously served prison time for escape from jail, breaking and entering, and aggravated battery on a health care worker.

State police on Wednesday charged Joe Martinez with felony counts of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner.

A judge in October 2014 sentenced Joe Martinez to 14 years in prison on charges of assault by prisoner, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and battery on a peace officer. Jail records show he previously served prison time on a charge of assault with intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer.

State police on Wednesday charged Mendez with attempt to commit murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A judge in August 2010 sentenced him to 12 years in prison on charges of attempt to commit first-degree murder and kidnapping.

At the time of the attack, the three inmates had been housed in a behavior management unit for violent offenders, Mahesh said Wednesday. They are currently being held in the prison’s maximum-security unit, he said.

“This is a vicious attack on our officers by the most violent offenders in our custody,” Mahesh said. “The unit that housed these inmates is always staffed to capacity given the violent and high-risk nature of these inmates, and it was fully staffed on the day of this attack.”

©2017 The Santa Fe New Mexican

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