Slain man’s family upset with judge

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Defendant is out on bail

By Martin Salazar

The family of a man who was shot to death and then burned last May is upset that one of the men charged in the case remains out on bond despite twice being accused of violating his conditions of release.

“He violated, and the judge let him go twice,” said Willie Bachicha, the victim’s father.

“We want fairness,” said Floribal Bachicha, the victim’s brother. “We’re not asking for favoritism.”

Gary Esquibel, 31, is awaiting trial on charges of arson, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence stemming from the May 18, 2013, slaying of Angel Arroyo. Authorities have said that Esquibel helped alleged killer Joseph “Wicked” Montoya try to cover up the crime by helping burn down an apartment at 12th Street and San Francisco where Arroyo’s body was.

The family is also upset that Esquibel is asking the court for permission to fight wildfires this summer, a request that prosecutors oppose, particularly given the fact that he’s facing an arson charge. Judge Gerald Baca has allowed Esquibel to take a required firefighter’s test, though it’s still unclear whether Esquibel will be allowed to fight fires.

Esquibel was taken into custody shortly after the murder, but he was released in December after his family posted $5,000 cash and put up two properties to ensure that he would show up for trial.

Since then, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has notified the court twice that Esquibel appeared to be in violation of his conditions of release.

The first motion filed was in late January, when Esquibel was on house arrest. Members of the Bachicha family notified Las Vegas police on Jan. 25 that Esquibel was seen exiting Leger’s Liquor Store. An officer showed up at the home of Esquibel’s parents, where Esquibel was staying. Esquibel wasn’t home; his mother told the officer that he had gone for firewood.

Esquibel was allowed to remain out on bond, and in Feb. 18, Judge Baca amended Esquibel’s conditions of release to allow him to work with Benny Escudero of the Edge Landscaping Material & More from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The District Attorney’s second motion to review conditions of release was filed in March.

A Las Vegas police sergeant made an unannounced home visit to Esquibel on March 14 at 8:45 p.m. and found that he wasn’t home. Esquibel’s father told the officer that his son went for rock, and Esquibel later said that his vehicle broke down.

A hearing on that matter was held Monday, and Baca again allowed Esquibel to remain out on bail.

The Bachichas don’t understand why Esquibel isn’t back in custody and why his request to fight fires is even being considered.

“This guy wants to fight fires when he’s accused of setting a fire with the body inside,” Floribal Bachicha said. He added that he wants the case transferred out of San Miguel County.

“We just want justice,” he said.

Willie Bachicha said he doesn’t understand why Esquibel was let out in the first place, given the heinous nature of the crime he’s accused of.

“They killed my son and then tried to burn him,” he said.

Esquibel is represented by Eugenio Mathis, who declined to comment Thursday morning. District Attorney Richard Flores also declined to comment.

Montoya is awaiting trial on an open count of murder, arson, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A third man, Joshua Vigil, 26, was also charged in the case but is testifying for the prosecution. In exchange for his testimony, he is getting three years of probation.