The man accused of shooting another man in the face with a .22 caliber handgun Aug. 18 on El Caballo Quino Drive off of El Llano Road will stay in jail until trial after a ruling by First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard.
Julian Medelez, 45, of Española, was charged with second degree murder, tampering with evidence, two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer after New Mexico State Police officers found George Lewis II dead inside Medelez’s home.
Lewis, of Santa Fe, was helping Medelez move from an apartment complex in Santa Fe to Española when the shooting occurred, court documents state.
Lewis was shot in the left cheek and the bullet traveled directly to the brain, Office of the Medical Investigator Pathologist Karen Zeigler found during the autopsy performed after the murder.
Medelez allegedly called police to the scene himself, through a series of 911 calls with conflicting messages, court documents show.
“According to dispatch, an unknown male caller advised dispatch, ‘Somebody want to stab somebody, and me and my (inaudible) are stopping it,’” Romero wrote in a statement of probable cause. “‘We don’t need to be in trouble with homeboy, you know what I’m saying.’”
Romero wrote that dispatchers tried to get more information about the alleged stabber, but the caller refused to provide more information and hung up after dispatchers asked him not to use profane language.
“When dispatch asked the caller to refrain from using profanities, the caller said, ‘I call you guys for help and you want to b----. (Expletive) you,’” Romero wrote.
Officers returned a call to the number, but the man who answered sounded intoxicated, Romero said, and cursed at the officers before disconnecting the call.
State Police Officer Lawrence Sanchez, the first witness to testify at the hearing on behalf of the state, said dispatchers used mapping technology to try and locate the caller.
“So they mapped it as 1700 El Caballo Quino Drive, as myself and other officers responded to that area, we could not locate (the address),” Sanchez said.
He said he called back the caller, and the man who answered said he had not called 911, and then after some profanities the man hung up the phone. He also said the caller seemed intoxicated. He said officers cleared the call because they could not locate the address, and the caller said he did not need assistance.
A while later Santa Fe Regional Dispatch reported to the Española/Rio Arriba E911 Dispatch Center that a man named Julian called to report being robbed by State Police officers and provided his address.
Sanchez testified that he saw Medelez through a metal screen door holding a knife inside his home when officers arrived.
“I tried to find out if he called us, what was going on, if there was anybody else inside the residence,” Sanchez said. “He immediately started saying, ‘Leave, get off my property, leave.’”
Sanchez said he kept asking questions until at one point Medelez threatened to shoot officers if they did not leave the property.
“Once he said that he was going to shoot us, me and the other officer made the decision to not aggravate the situation and we were getting ready to leave the residence,” Sanchez said.
He said concern for the safety of a neighbor kept them at the scene. He said a woman and her son were also living on the property and he wanted to get them to safety before all the officers left.
Sanchez said he called a sergeant who agreed the best course of action was to get the woman and her son to safety and then leave the area. Officers planned to follow-up with Medelez the next day.
While Sanchez was talking to the neighbor, he said Medelez came out of the house and argued with another officer, again telling them to leave. Then, Medelez said something that made officers decide to stay.
“He made a comment of, ‘You guys got to see this, there’s somebody inside my house, dead, bleeding,’” Sanchez said.
After Medelez made the statement, Sanchez said he and other officers commanded Medelez to walk toward them, after Medelez refused, they nabbed him and placed him in handcuffs.
During a sweep of the house, they found Lewis dead on the floor.
Medelez was taken to the State Police District 7 office in Española where he was fed and advised of his Miranda rights, court documents show. He declined to speak with agents and instead requested a lawyer.
“I informed Julian I was not going to ask him any questions regarding what happened at his home, however I asked that he tell me who the decedent was so that I may inform his family,” Romero wrote in the probable cause statement. “Julian said he did not know the man.”
Agents obtained warrants to search Medelez, collect DNA swabs, and search his home and vehicles.
In an unusual move during the hearing, Law Offices of the Public Defender Attorney Sydney West, asked Romero to look at Medelez’s hands.
The implication seemed to be that Medelez had defensive wounds to his hands that were not initially documented by Romero or other State Police officers.
Romero said Medelez’s hands looked different to her than they had the night of the murder, and she had no way of knowing how his hands were damaged.
West asked the court to allow the defense to photograph Medelez’s wounds, and also to arrange for him to undergo a medical examination. She did not elaborate on the purpose behind the request.
Lidyard allowed the defense to photograph Medelez while in custody following the hearing and said once an appointment was set, he would sign an order for a medical examination related to the case.
At the end of the hearing, despite questions concerning possible defensive marks, Lidyard ordered Medelez to remain in custody until his trial. A trial date has not yet been set.