ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – One of the teens accused of murdering a local bartender six months ago is out of jail and has been for weeks, but the victim’s family said no one ever warned them about it.
Family and friends gathered at Spectators at Eubank and Juan Tabo on Friday where Steve Gerecke used to work.
They lit candles in his memory and spoke out against what the family said is a judicial system re-victimizing the victims.
At the vigil, Heather Alter showed a picture of her father from just days before he was shot and killed in his driveway near Indian School and Tramway.
“He was at the wrong time but the right place,” Alter said. “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.”
Police said Gerecke confronted a group that broke into his house.
Six teens are charged with Gerecke’s murder.
However, one of them got out of jail two weeks ago and Gerecke’s family said no one bothered to let them know.
“If they’re going to let people that are accused of murder be on the street, then part of the victim’s advocate realm should have notified our family to let us know we can sleep less tonight,” Alter said.
Last month, a judge denied 15-year-old Andrew Hubler’s request to lower his $100,000 cash or surety bond. Bernalillo county said Hubler posted that bond and was released the day before Thanksgiving.
“That’s a slap in the face to my dad. My dad doesn’t get to be home for Thanksgiving. He doesn’t get to have Christmas,” Alter said.
The Juvenile Court Division told KRQE News 13 that as part of his conditions of release Hubler is supposed to go to class at Highland High School during the day and be on house arrest from 7 p.m.to 6 a.m.
That is not a comforting thought, Alter said, given what Hubler’s mom said on camera in July. “At age 15 years old, they don’t have to be at your house,” Linda Hubler said.
At the time, she told KRQE that she was sick of being blamed.
“God as my witness, you better believe it,” Hubler’s mom started to say when Alter could be heard telling her, “My father’s dead.”
In response, Linda Hubler said, “Well that’s not my fault, okay.”
Gerecke’s family said they just don’t want to be left in the dark when these teens are back on the street.
“I feel like I’ve been punished and sentenced to a system that is broken,” Alter said.
The District Attorney’s Office said it “is not immediately made aware of the release of defendants from custody.”
A spokesperson told KRQE News 13 that Hubler is charged as a Serious Youthful Offender.
Typically notification of the release of juveniles from jail would come from the Juvenile Community Custody Program, but the court did not order that Hubler be part of that program.
The DA’s Office said “the Violent Crimes Division handling Hubler’s case first became aware of the filing of Defense’s Motion to Withdraw Reconsideration of Conditions of Release late this week.” That is how they found out Hubler posted bond.
Another one of the teens, 18-year-old Ryan Archibeque, was released last month.
That came after a judge agreed to lower his bond from $250,000 cash only to $85,000 cash or surety.
He only needed $8,500 to get out of jail.