On May 29, brothers Roger Gage and John Powell allegedly walked into April Browne’s Cañoncitos home and shot her, Abraham Martinez and Kierin Guillemin in the head, killing them, before stealing suspected drugs and other property.
A day later Abraham Martinez’s brother, Ezekiel Martinez and father, Robert Martinez, went to check on him. Using their shirts to try to filter the smell of the three decomposing bodies, they allegedly proceeded to steal the remaining drugs in the house as well as other unspecified valuables before calling 911 and reporting the deaths off of State Road 580.
Both the initial robbery and slaying of Browne, 42, of Cañoncitos; Abraham Martinez, 36, of Dixon and Guillemin, 27, of Vadito, and the theft of drugs following their deaths and before the 911 call were recorded by a single camera in Browne’s bedroom, State Police Agent Joey Gallegos wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant for Robert and Ezekiel Martinez, dated Monday.
State Police officers arrested Gage, 33, of Arroyo Hondo and Powell, 34, of Taos on June 1 in El Prado. Both were charged with three counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon.
On Monday afternoon, State Police officers arrested Robert Martinez, 70, of Dixon and Ezekiel Martinez, 29, of Santa Fe, although only Ezekiel Martinez was incarcerated, according to jail and court records.
Gallegos charged Abraham Martinez’s father and brother with burglary, larceny between $250 and $2,500 and tampering with evidence.
Gallegos wrote, in an affidavit for an arrest warrant, that officers found Abraham Martinez in the bed, under blankets, while Browne was lying on the side of the bed and Guillemin was slumped in a chair, May 30.
“All three (3) people were bloated and appeared to have been deceased for a while,” Gallegos wrote.
Inside the house, officers found the bedroom was ransacked and found blood in the kitchen and outside the house.
“A sliding door to the residence was also broken out,” he wrote.
Sgt. Nicolas Levine told Gallegos that security cameras surrounded the house and one was pointed directly at the bed where Browne and Abraham Martinez’s bodies lay.
The lines to all of the cameras were cut, except for the camera in the bedroom. They also found unspecified drug paraphernalia with heroin residue on the paraphernalia.
Officers scoured the house for evidence after obtaining a search warrant and found a “Cobra DVR” system that recorded footage from the surveillance cameras. They transported it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s regional lab in Albuquerque.
When they got back the first portion of the video they found a clip from 12:30 a.m., May 29 of two men, later identified as Gage and Powell, entering the bedroom.
“Kierin Guillemin is seated in a chair at the entrance, April Browne is seated in the bed, and Abraham Martinez is asleep underneath covers on the bed next to April,” Gallegos wrote. “Kierin (is) immediately shot, then the 2 (two) males walk up and shoot April Browne and Abraham Martinez in the head.”
One of the men was wearing a hat, loose jacket and carrying a semi-automatic pistol while the other was wearing a sweatshirt and glasses and carrying a revolver.
“The 2 (two) males ransack through drawers stealing items and suspected drugs,” he wrote. “The 2 suspects than (sic) walk up to each person and shoots another round into the heads of Kierin Guillemin, April Browne and Abraham Martinez. The 2 (two) males than (sic) ransack some more and then leave the room with several items in hand and their handguns.”
Prosecutor Erik Scramlin wrote, in a pre-trial motion for detention filed in Tierra Amarilla District Court, that the footage was high quality and both men’s faces were clearly visible.
He wrote that after Gage was arrested, he told Gallegos that he and his brother planned to kill the people in Browne’s house “and rob them for money and drugs.”
“After the murders, Defendants hid their clothing and the firearms used in the murders,” Scramlin wrote. “At this time the two firearms used in the murder have not been located.”
Both men are being held without bail pending a detention hearing at 4:30 p.m., June 11 and a dangerousness hearing, at 3:30 p.m., June 19. It is not clear where either hearing is being held but both hearings will be in front of District Court judges.
Española Magistrate Judge Joseph Madrid arraigned both men Monday afternoon through a video conference. While Madrid read Powell’s charges, he began to cry and Gage touched his brother’s shoulder. Gage told Madrid that he is homeless.
While they were waiting for their paperwork to be faxed to the Center, Powell briefly spoke to Gage.
“If I have to spend the rest of my life in prison, I’d rather die,” he said.
Gage later asked Powell what “the first guy’s” name was.
“Kierin,” Powell replied.
Finding the bodies
Gallegos wrote that Ezekiel and Robert Martinez arrived at Browne’s house, where Abraham Martinez was staying, at 6:20 p.m., May 30.
“Robert Martinez and Ezekiel Martinez are family members to Abraham Martinez and they had not been able to get a hold of him,” Gallegos wrote. “They attempted to make contact with Abraham Martinez to ensure he was okay. They peered through a window of the residence and observed three (3) bodies in a bedroom on the North/East side of the residence.”
They broke into the house and told State Police officers that they immediately called 911.
However, State Police agents received a video clip that showed the men were allegedly not being entirely truthful.
“The clip captured just before law enforcement arrived on Wednesday, May 30, 2018,” Gallegos wrote. “The clip depicted Ezekiel Martinez and his father Robert Martinez entering into (sci) the bedroom where the deceased bodies of Kierin Guillemin, April Browne and Abraham Martinez are.”
Ezekiel Martinez allegedly immediately grabbed a tackle box filled with suspected drugs.
“Ezekiel Martinez looks through a purse, wallet and drawers and removes a plastic bag from the hands of Kierin Guillemin,” Gallegos wrote. “Ezekiel Martinez has his shirt placed over his mouth as to cover the smell, and places several of the items in his pocket.”
Robert Martinez entered the bedroom with his son and watched him allegedly stealing items from the house.
“Ezekiel Martinez hands a couple of items to Robert Martinez and they eventually leave the room from camera view,” Gallegos wrote.
According to online court records, Española Magistrate Judge Joseph Madrid set Ezekiel Martinez’s bail at $15,000, with 10 percent to the court, Tuesday. A hearing to review the conditions of his release is set for 10 a.m., Friday in Española.
Robert Martinez was released on an unsecured appearance bond of $15,000, Tuesday. A status hearing is at 8:30 a.m., June 27.
“Robert Martinez was released on his own recognizance by a judge due to medical issues,” a State Police press release states.
According to E-911 Dispatch Center logs, Robert Martinez called 911 at 6:39 p.m., May 30.
“(Reporting party requests) to report 3 murders in Cañoncitos,” the logs state. “(Reporting party advises) that someone came to his res (advised) that were was a foul smell at his sons res — (reporting party) went up to the res and looked and saw three bodies on the floor.”
He told dispatchers that it appeared the three people had been shot and identified it as the April Browne residence.
He also said that the bodies had bloated. The call was then transferred to State Police and Robert Martinez told dispatchers he would wait for them at the Dixon Co-Op because he did not have a phone.
His son then called 911 at 7:10 p.m. and asked where the police officers were before he was transferred to the State Police dispatch.
Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office Major Randy Sanches said the Office and State Police take turns on calls and State Police was next on rotation.
Embudo Valley Neighborhood Watch leader Ron Monsour said his group was aware of the alleged drug activity.
“We were very aware of that house and we reported it,” he said. “We had a meeting. There are only two houses of interest in Dixon.”
Neighbor Silviano Tucker said there was a lot of traffic to and from Browne’s house.
At one point, someone spray painted the words “drug dealer” in front of Browne’s driveway, with an arrow pointing toward her house.
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the amount of traffic coming from the house was suspicious.
A woman who only identified herself as a family friend of Browne, said she rescued one kitten from Browne’s house Sunday, although two others would not come to her. She tried to give it to another Dixon resident because she was going away on a trip Monday morning.
Browne’s sister, Kiva Duckworth-Moulton, did not return requests for comment sent to her on Facebook.
Browne’s father, Len Browne, did not answer the door, Sunday, when Rio Grande SUN reporters repeatedly knocked on his front door.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, someone identifying themselves as Browne’s family members sent a press release stating Browne was addicted to unspecified drugs and those “life choices probably led to her death.”
SUN Staff Writer Amanda Martinez contributed to this report