The mother of an accused killer could soon be getting out of jail.
Loretta Villalobos was supposed to serve 21 years after her son was accused of beating to death a 12-year-old boy, but a recently overturned conviction means she could be out much sooner. “I think the Court of Appeals said it’s not against the law to be irresponsible,” 13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said.
In 2014, Villalobos’ then-15-year-old son Brandon was charged in the beating death of his friend, Alex Madrid. Madrid’s body was found under a mattress in Meadow Lake. Brandon was a special needs student at Los Lunas High with a history of fighting, skipping school, and vandalizing property.
“What I don’t want to happen is for him to get sent to prison because he’s MR, you know? He’s not, he’s not understanding none of this right now,” Loretta Villalobos told KRQE News 13 after the incident in 2014.
After a trial, a judge in February 2017 sentenced Loretta to 21 years on one count of negligent child abuse resulting in death, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for knowing her disabled son was dangerous but never getting him help, and for leaving him alone with Madrid.
“I want to see justice for her to never ever be near a child ever again,” Madrid’s mother, Roxanne, told KRQE News 13 at Loretta’s trial in late 2016.
Villalobos appealed the convictions, arguing that she did not cause Madrid’s death even though she failed to check on him after he was injured. “There was another argument about whether it was foreseeable for her to know what was going to happen,” Martinez added.
In paperwork filed last week, Judge Briana Zamora reversed the negligent child abuse resulting in death conviction, knocking 18 years off her sentence.
Martinez calls it a learning experience for his office. “This gives us a better path, a better understanding on what we need in order to convict a person as an accessory,” he said.
Villalobos still has to go before a district court judge for resentencing on her other two counts for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Those carry a combined three-year sentence. She has already served about 28 months. Brandon Villalobos is charged with murder and tampering with evidence but has not been tried in the case.
The Court of Appeals will decide whether his statements to law enforcement should be allowed in court. The defense argues he did not “knowingly or intelligently” waive his Miranda Rights before giving statements to police.
Prosecutors claim Brandon gave police inconsistent statements about being attacked by three people the day Madrid went missing, and about how he knew where the 12-year-old’s body was.