Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Teenager pleads guilty to the death of a homeless man

Timothy Chavez, 15, awaits his first appearance in court Wednesday after being charged with open charges of murder and manipulation of evidence in the shooting of 50-year-old Ronnie Ross. (Marla Brose / )

A teen guilty of the murder of a homeless person in Albuquerque in 2018 will be free by at least 30, according to an agreement he signed on Wednesday.

Timothy Chavez, now 19, pleaded guilty to first degree murder when he killed Ronnie Ross, a 50-year-old homeless from Shiprock, in March 2018. Chavez, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, allegedly acted on the side of another teenager who is still being charged. The settlement agreement, which contains the factual basis for the crime, was tied under lock and key for reasons that could not be disclosed, said Marie Legrand Miller, attorney for Chavez.

District Judge Courtney Weaks, who accepted the plea, did not provide a copy of the document to the Journal.

Weaks said in court that the agreement limits Chavez’s sentence to no more than 15 years, but it could be less. A verdict has not yet been scheduled. The agreement stipulates that Chavez will continue until he turns 21.

The settlement marks the end of a murder case more than three years old.

Police were called to the 1200 block of Menaul NE near a T-Mobile call center on March 18, 2018 after Ross’ body was found on some rocks on the north side of the street. He had been shot twelve times, five in the head and four in the back.

The investigation centered on Chavez and Anthony Gallegos, now 20, when several young people identified as “concerned citizens” in a criminal complaint came forward and identified them as the shooters.

The group had celebrated their birthday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the night of the shooting, and Chavez and Gallegos left the party and shot Ross early in the morning. Chavez and Gallegos showed the gun at the hotel party, boasting that, according to the complaint, they shot homeless people once that night.

The ad said a witness told police that Chavez left the party and came back an hour later and said he shot a homeless man. Chavez and Gallegos then left the party and headed back to the location of the shooting, where they found Ross still alive. Gallegos then shot Ross to “finish” him, the complaint said.

Chavez appeared in court in a green polo shirt during a virtual hearing from a juvenile detention center on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty but gave no explanation for what happened the night of Ross’ death.

“I believe that this settlement, which in this case lasts three and a half years, is in my client’s best interests,” said Legrand Miller during the hearing. “And we look forward to explaining the significant accomplishments of Mr Chavez while he is in custody the entire time we come to conviction.”

Legrand Miller told the Journal that her client had excelled in school, matured enormously, and had been treated since he was incarcerated.

“He has grown into a very remarkable young man,” she said.

Weaks, Chavez, Legrand Miller, and the prosecutor met in private chat for about 10 minutes before Weaks accepted the plea.

A trial date against Gallegos has not been set.

Comments are closed.