ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the teens who police say is behind a string of violent crimes around Albuquerque went before a hearing officer Monday to see if he could get out of jail.
Sebastian Garcia, 16, is the prime suspect in the shooting of a Great Dane during a burglary.
He appeared in Children’s Court after skipping out on court last month for a probation violation.
His father, Salvador Garcia, told KRQE News 13 he’s frustrated, along with police, that his son keeps getting breaks in court.
“I want to push for the judge not to release him,” Salvador said. “[Judges] usually do and like, within days he’s out.”
Salvador said his son moved here more than a year ago from Texas where he was living with his mother. He said he moved to Albuquerque after his mother got a new job that required her to work nights. He said Sebastian has been in-and-out of trouble since December; but didn’t know his crimes were escalating.
“I’ve turned him in a few times before,” he said. “I didn’t know he was hanging out with these people police say.”
With four felony warrants, Garcia had been on the run until Friday when police caught up him a day after the APD held a news conference naming several teens it says are involved in a gang that’s getting more violent.
During the press conference, police made it clear juvenile judges need to take a second look before letting these teens back out on the streets.
“They need to look at the totality of the circumstances of these juveniles, their crimes are violent, they’ve been escalating and even as you asked within two years they’ve gone from a tagger group to committing homicides, carjackings and the list goes on and on,” said Lt. Michelle Campbell.
Monday, prosecutors called Garcia dangerous and said that he should stay behind bars. They consider him to be a flight risk and said he has already cut off an ankle monitor in the past.
The defense said Garcia is being vilified by police and the media, and that Monday is just a hearing on a technical violation.
However, the hearing officer wasn’t buying it, and said Garcia has no business being out on the streets.
“He has demonstrated that he is, at minimum, a flight risk and I will hold him,” Ted Martinez said.
Garcia’s father agreed.
“I want him to get help,” Salvador said. “But I don’t think it’s safe for him to be released or for society if he’s doing what they say he’s doing.”
Sebastian Garcia is expected to be back in court Tuesday for three separate charges.