Triple homicide case moves forward

CONEJOS — More than a year after he allegedly shot three persons to death and badly injured another, Santos Nevares waived a preliminary hearing in Conejos County Court and was bound over for trial on an array of charges relating to his actions on Jan. 15, 2017.

Nevares, now 26, allegedly went to a birthday party for Guadalupe Cervantes, who was celebrating his 57th birthday at his home just outside Capulin, and began firing.

He reportedly had encountered the group earlier at the town bar, became belligerent and followed them home after a football game was over. The shootings began about 6 p.m. that day, a Sunday.

Sheriff’s deputies who arrived soon afterward discovered two men deceased, a young woman critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head and a young man screaming in a nearby field.

Nevares was arrested after an allegedly stolen van he drove from the scene got stuck in the snow a few miles from the shooting scene. He was described as intoxicated, and armed, allegedly threatening officers who approached.

He claimed he had no memory of what happened before he was arrested.

An arrest affidavit says Jose M. Archuleta, 54, was in a running Ford Thunderbird and died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Cervantes was found clinging to life with a gunshot wound to the head but died after officers began performing CPR.

Screaming in a nearby field led officers to Don L. “Kinki” Martinez, now 35, who suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. He was flown to a hospital outside the area and is recovering.

The affidavit states that Marissa Cervantez, 30, had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was lying under a blanket near the Ford. She was flown on life support to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, where she died.

Navares faces a long list of charges, including six first-degree murder charges, and court records show he has been assigned public defenders. He made 18 appearances before a preliminary hearing was scheduled March 19 and 20 in Conejos County Court. Those were waived and he will make his first appearance before 12th Judicial District Judge Pattie Swift at 1 p.m. April 27.

When investigators interviewed Nevares, he reportedly recounted events before and after the shootings but claimed to have no memory of the time between leaving the bar and his arrest, the affidavit says.

Details were made scarce after the Conejos County Sheriff placed a gag order on the case, realizing that some news outlets had the affidavit. The State Public Defender is representing Nevares.

Main charges facing him include three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, class 1 felonies, three counts of first-degree murder-extreme indifference, class 1 felonies, two counts of attempted murder, class 2 felonies, first degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury, class 3 felony, felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon, class 5 felony, aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class 5 felony, class 3 misdemeanor menacing and class six felony criminal impersonation to gain a benefit.

Sentence enhancing charges include use of a weapon in violent crime, violent crime causing death, use of a weapon in violent crime and violent crime causing death or serious bodily injury, all attendant to the main charges.

He is being held without bond.