Testimony to be fair game at hearing of teens accused of killing a homeless man

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Two of the teens accused of beating two homeless men to death will be able to argue that they come from rough homes and didn’t know right from wrong to get lighter sentences.

That was a judge’s decision Tuesday. It’s becoming a common defense for kids accused of horrible crimes and on Tuesday defense attorneys made their case using what they call scientific evidence.

“They’re meaningless. Without any other documentation, without any other explanation, the graphs are absolutely meaningless,” Victor Martinez, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office said of a PowerPoint presentation an expert witness will use for the defense.

The state was hoping to limit that expert witness’ testimony on teen brain development.

Prosecutors called the PowerPoint slides on brain development vague. They also say they were given the presentation in an “ambush.”

The defense said that’s an extremely important part of their case when it comes to young criminal, how they can’t control their impulses, especially when they have tough upbringings.

They argue Nathaniel Carrillo and Gilbert Tafoya, who were 16 and 15 at the time and accused of beating two homeless men to death in a dirt lot off Central last year for the fun of it, should be sentenced as juveniles if they’re convicted at trial.

The attorneys for those boys say the material the state was questioning is not a new argument anymore.

“It seems like a pretty open door here if we’re talking about everything she would be drawing upon as far as authorities go in this field,” Stephen Taylor said, who represents Carrillo.

After about a half hour, Judge Briana Zamora denied the prosecutors’ motion.

Both sides will be back in district court Friday to argue if the boys should be sentenced as adults if they’re convicted.

Alex Rios is the third teen accused of the homeless murders. He was 18 at the time so can’t make the same argument as the other two.

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