Richard Joseph Griego

Richard Joseph Griego

A Villanueva man awaiting trial for first-degree murder in the 2017 death of family member Jimmy Griego has been sentenced to nine years in prison for having a weapon in jail.

In August 2018, San Miguel County Detention Center correction officers saw Richard Joseph Griego, 35, reach for an item under his bunk and then replace it with a pair of socks, said Fourth Judicial District Attorney Tom Clayton.

Officers did a search and found a shank, which is a homemade knife-like weapon. The shank had a hollowed out bolt with a nut and a nail through the hollow end, according to court records. He was charged with possession of a deadly weapon.

“We appreciate the work of the detention center staff and the Las Vegas (Police Department) in investigating this matter,” Clayton said. “It is our duty to ensure the safety of everyone at the detention center, as such, I applaud the efforts of the warden and staff.”

Richard Griego is accused of throwing Jimmy Griego off a Pecos River bridge on NM 3 in Ribera on March 28, 2017. 

A witness told police she saw a terrified Jimmy Griego in the bed of a northbound pickup, according to court records.

From her rearview mirror, the woman saw the driver of the truck, Richard Griego, pull off the road and get out of the truck with an unidentified object in his hand. She turned around and arrived just as Richard Griego pushed Jimmy Griego over the bridge and into the river, according to court records.

The woman told police Richard Griego drove away and she saw Jimmy Griego floating facedown in the river.

The Office of the Medical Investigator found signs of blunt force trauma and two lacerations to Jimmy Griego’s head.

Since Richard Griego’s arrest, he has undergone evaluations to determine his competency to stand trial. In August, Judge Abigail Aragon found Richard Griego competent to stand trial, which is scheduled for Feb. 28.

Richard Griego is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Richard Griego is also scheduled for a Feb. 15 trial for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for a fight with an inmate on March 1, 2019. In another case, he’s charged with battery upon a peace officer for allegedly punching a corrections officer on March 5, 2021.

The court is awaiting a competency evaluation before proceeding in the case of the battery on the corrections officer.

Griego will be transported to a New Mexico Corrections Department prison facility to serve his sentence, according to Clayton. He currently remains in the county detention center.

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