ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Family of the man who Albuquerque realtor Chris Pino is accused of running over is now suing.
The complaint for wrongful death claims Pino intentionally hit a man with his car, but the attorney defending Pino in the criminal murder case says his client is the victim.
“They’re devastated,” attorney Mark Fine said.
He is representing 30-year-old Daniel Arballo’s family in the wrongful death lawsuit.
The complaint comes about a month after police arrested Pino for running over Arballo with his red Hummer and trying to hurt Arballo’s friend.
At the time, Pino told police the men were stealing from his property, the now-vacant Trinity Methodist Church on Silver near Solano.
A criminal complaint shows Pino said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, that he meant to knock one man down so he wouldn’t leave and that he had a shovel in the car and wanted to knock the other guy out until the cops got there.
“That would essentially, in my view, amount to a confession about his intent at that time,” Fine said.
Arballo’s family lives in California.
“They recognize that he had a difficult time here in Albuquerque, that he did struggle with homelessness, that he did pick up a criminal record,” Fine said.
However, Pino’s attorney told KRQE News 13 that Arballo is the criminal.
Pino’s attorney, Robert Gorence, said he finds it “shocking” that police arrested his client for charges including second-degree murder.
“They are burglars. They had shopping carts. The audacity,” Gorence said.
He said Pino didn’t intend to hit the men, just restrain them.
“Can you protect your castle and your property or should we just give ’em the keys and let everybody rip us off with impunity,” Gorence said.
He said Pino was defending against what was at least the fourth burglary.
“Should you be able to defend your ‘castle’ and restrain someone using your Hummer?” KRQE News 13 asked Gorence.
“Well, you know, he’s a 53-year-old handicapped, he’s handicapped,” he responded.
Gorence said Pino has trouble walking, that he walks with a limp after a surgery that went bad because he has no ligaments in one knee.
He said Pino didn’t intend to hurt anyone and feels great remorse.
Pino told police he saw the two men stealing his radio.
Arballo’s attorney disputes the theft.
Regardless, he said that doesn’t justify taking the law into your own hands and running someone over.