ALAMOSA — After emotional statements from victims, and friends and family of victims, Shawndon McVey, 26, was sentenced to 24 years in prison followed by three year’s probation and payment of restitution. McVey appeared before Judge Michael Gonzales for his sentencing Aug. 9, one year to the day of the brutal murder of Mathias Fritz and the attack on Alma Salazar.
McVey pled guilty to conspiring to aggravated robbery as a crime of violence and second-degree kidnapping as a crime of violence.
The murder of Fritz and attack on Salazar happened Aug. 9, 2018, allegedly by McVey, Robert Martinez, 29, Shem Brown, 26, and Philip Medina, 36. McVey is the only one of the four that has “come clean” and worked with law enforcement on the case, according to Christa Newmyer-Olsen, district attorney.
The family of Fritz that addressed the court Friday said the maximum sentence of 24 years was not enough. McVey will still have the opportunity to have a life after he is released. The Fritz family will never be able to see their father, son, brother or uncle again. A man who was “well-read, well-traveled” and even worked on the courthouse McVey was sentenced in.
Anything less than the maximum sentence, they told Gonzales, would make them victims all over again.
Salazar also spoke to the court. She relives the night of the attack, scared all the time and told about her injuries which she is still suffering from. Her father, Donald Salazar, related the horror he had with the 5 a.m. phone call saying that his daughter was being airlifted to Colorado Springs and no one knew if she would live. He wanted Gonzales to show McVey the same mercy that McVey showed his family — “which is none.”
As for her statement, Newmyer-Olsen told the court that a year ago, the lives of everyone in the courtroom was “turned upside down…The courtroom is filled with family and friends of Mathias and their grieve… came out in anger and tears.”
The core of the case is centered around drugs and money, she said.
McVey has been cooperative, been remorseful and been empathetic for the victims of the incident, she added. “That is why we are here [in court] with the 24-year sentencing range.”
She also acknowledged that this is the first felony charge against McVey.
For his part, McVey’s attorney, Chip Cutler, said that case is a tragic one and asked the court to sentence McVey to 15 years in prison. He told the court that McVey had a hard time growing up and ended up on drugs and alcohol, including the night of Aug. 9, 2018, when he was in a “meth haze.” At that time, McVey got into a situation he could not get out of and when he wanted to confess, Robert Martinez, 30, allegedly shot him in the face.
When McVey finally had the chance to speak, he told Gonzales, “All I want to say is that I am sorry, and I wish I could take it back.”
After everyone in the courtroom had a chance to speak, Gonzales sent a clear message to McVey and the community. Although he cooperated with law enforcement, Gonzales said McVey took part in a brutal attack in which Fritz was killed, and Salazar received life-long injuries. “You got lucky,” he told McVey. “You got the benefit of entering a plea…but it does not change the outcome [of the incident] …This case is about brutality and no respect for human life.”
Gonzales added that at 26 years old, McVey has his life ahead of him, but Fritz doesn’t and Salazar is affected or life. No sentence he imposes could “drive the demons” away to help Salazar. However, Gonzales did encourage her and the Fritz family to move forward and “don’t be afraid to love.” To the daughters of Fritz, he also said to move forward and make their father proud.
After that, Gonzales sentenced McVey to 12 years in prison for each count to run concurrently for a total of 24 years in prison. He also must pay $12,819.46 in restitution. That, however, could increase as medical bills for the Fritz family and Salazar continue to mount.
After court adjourned, Newmyer-Olsen said, “There is no sentence the court can impose or outcome the criminal justice system can achieve which can make any of the victims whole again. The sentence takes into account the part Mr. McVey played in this brutal crime, as well as his efforts to take accountability.”