Two teens who killed Albuquerque man cause more trouble behind bars

On Special Assignment

Correction below

They were teens when they were convicted for their role in the 2015 murder of an Albuquerque man in his driveway. Now, doing prison time as adults, they’re behaving badly. 

Taking a look behind bars, records show Jeremiah King and Christopher Rodriguez are still getting into trouble. They’re convicted on charges including aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon, and King for first-degree murder for what happened in 2015. 

Police say the then 16-year-olds were breaking into cars and homes in northeast Albuquerque with four other boys when Steven Gerecke encountered them in his driveway. King is convicted of shooting and killing Gerecke. 

“He was at his home and he was protecting my mother, and if he hadn’t done that my mom would have been dead too,” Heather Alter, Gerecke’s daughter, said. 

The family followed court proceedings closely, hoping for justice for Gerecke.

In accordance with a plea deal where prosecutors agreed to a cap on King’s prison time, Bernalillo County District Court Judge Brett Loveless gave the shooter 25 years behind bars.

King promised to change is ways at his sentencing. 

“I can’t do much but say sorry. I can prove it by doing good while in prison,” King said at his sentencing back in February 2017. 

Now, more than two years later, KRQE News 13 wanted to know if he has made good on that promise. Instead, what Special Assignments Reporter Lysée Mitri found was hundreds of pages of disciplinary records from the New Mexico Department of Corrections. 

An investigation last November links him to an assault on an inmate at the state prison in Hobbs, and records show King got caught twice with homemade alcohol or ‘hooch.’ That, plus regularly skipping out on his GED class, totals more than a dozen infractions that have cost him phone and visitation privileges.

Meanwhile, King’s friend, Christopher Rodriguez, is serving 14 years in the State Pen. At his sentencing, Judge Loveless said Rodriguez’s behavior behind bars while awaiting trial showed he’s not sorry for what he did. 

“What you have to do is decide what kind of life you want to live. Do you want to live a life of crime? Do you want to live a life where, basically, your family always sees you in jail?” Judge Loveless told Rodriguez at his sentencing. 

Unlike King, Rodriguez never vowed to be on his best behavior. In fact, he even gave everyone the middle finger in court at one point. 

Up in the State Pen, Rodriguez is accused of joining four others in a second-floor prison cell to assault an inmate. Video shows him quickly get out of there afterward, jumping down the stairs. 

A hearing officer recommended he lose four months of good time as punishment, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to Gerecke’s family who had strong words for Rodriguez two years ago. 

“He’s an animal. He’ll always be an animal. We just put him in a cage for a little while, and then he’s going to get out and then he’s going to hurt one of us again,” Alter said. 

Rodriguez was moved up to Level 6 at the State Pen. That’s the wing that houses the worst of the worst. The four other teens were sentenced as juveniles for that night of so-called “mobbing” that led to Gerecke’s death. 

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Judge Brett Loveless could have put the shooter behind bars for 30 years and sentenced King to 25 years instead. An update now clarifies that it was actually prosecutors who agreed to cap King’s incarceration at 25 years instead of 30 as part of a plea deal. Therefore, Judge Loveless’ sentence was in accordance with that plea agreement.

WATCH: Christopher Rodriguez State Pen Security Video

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