ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man charged with beating to death an elderly man will soon be waiting for his trial at home. Philip Martin, 25, has been in jail for the last four months.
District Court Judge Christina Argyres ordered him to be on house arrest with an ankle monitor, and the victim’s family is angry.
“It scares the whole family,” said Edward Garcia.
Garcia is the son-in-law of 65-year-old Richard Zarate, the man police said was beaten to death in his home off west Central Avenue in May. The family didn’t know until they found him days later, dying.
“My nephew went to check on him because he was worried and found him laying there,” Garcia said.
Police arrested five suspects, including Martin. He is accused of murdering Zarate, stealing from him and using his credit card. Martin has 31 counts against him and was being held in jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond, but Judge Argyre’s order Wednesday will put him on house arrest with an ankle monitor instead.
“65-year-old man, beating him to death with his hands, punching him in the face, punching him in the gut, kicking him in the gut and then letting him out. Letting him out free? “ Garcia said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Stacey Ward is representing Martin. She said he had nothing to do with the murder and only went to the home to help a couple who was moving out get their stuff.
“This is not Ted Bundy on release, okay,” Ward said. “This is a very nice, soft-spoken, quiet and decent young man.”
Ward said Martin has no prior criminal history, not even a traffic ticket. She said he never should have had a high bond in the first place because there is no evidence.
“Can the state put up or shut up when it comes to the evidence, and he has a right to be out on conditions of release until he faces trial,” Ward said.
Ward said Martin could be back home in about two weeks; a thought that worries Zarate’s family.
“Frances and the other girls will never be able to see their dad again. Why is this guy able to be out and socialize with his family?” Ward.
Typically only suspects accused of nonviolent crimes are put on house arrest.
KRQE News 13 wanted to ask the judge why she ordered it in this murder case, but she did not want to answer that question.
Of the four other suspects accused in the case, only one of them, Marcus Hamilton, is charged with murder.
Online court records show he’s still in jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.