Man accused of murdering wife with ax, confesses during taped interview

Crime

SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) – A man accused of killing his wife with an ax in the Gila National Forest, confessed to the crime on camera but video shows this wasn’t the first story he told police. The search for the missing Silver City woman back in September led New Mexico State Police right to her estranged husband, Armando Zamora.



“We’re just trying to find Erica,” an officer told Zamora on police body camera video. “From what I hear, you’re the last one who saw her.”

Zamora told police, he and his wife Erica went up in the Gila National Forest to chop wood before returning home. After a couple of days together, he says he took her back to her home.

“I had dropped her off, then I went back to the house later after I got off work and there was no answer,” said Zamora. “But she was kind of mad and upset.”

However, Erica’s family had their own theory — this wasn’t what happened. Her brother went to NMSP to report her missing later that week.

“She didn’t answer. And then my mom called her on Tuesday, and she didn’t answer,” said Erica’s brother during a taped interview. “He’s actually on probation right now because he molested my niece, so none of the family talks to him.”

Her brother says she normally didn’t go this long without contacting her family. He was worried things had escalated between Erica and Armando, who filed for divorce earlier this year.

“The fact that they’ve been having problems and then this happens. It’s just very unusual,” Erica’s brother told an officer, who then asked if he thought Armando was capable of killing. “I do.”

Because of his probation, Zamora is on a GPS ankle monitor, so police tracked his movements that weekend, and sure enough, he never dropped Erica off at home. After officers brought him back into the station, video captures Zamora’s confession to police minutes later.

“We got in an argument. She started hitting me. I hit her back, and like…all of the anger that had been built up all of these years, it just went wrong. I killed her,” said Zamora during a police interview after his arrest. “I hit her on the head and then I killed her.”

Officers found Erica’s body in the woods where Zamora’s ankle monitor was tracked, with injuries consistent with an ax. Zamora told police he covered her up with wood before leaving the area.

“I didn’t want to see what I did, you know? And I can’t take that back,” said Zamora, on camera. “I can’t take back what I did.”

Zamora is expected back in court on Dec. 6. The Sixth Judicial District Attorney, Michael Renteria, says because of the confession, they believe there’s a strong case if it does go to trial.

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