In January 2013, then 15 year old Nehemiah Griego went a little funny in the ol' noggin'. He reportedly told Albuquerque police he shot his mother to death as she slept because he had become frustrated with her. His younger brother woke up due to all the noise and according to Nehemiah, became upset their mother was dead. So, to keep the little guy quiet, he shot him too, because nothing shuts up a whiney little brother quicker than a .22 cal. slug to the head.
The authorities say, Griego told them that after those two murders, he, "lost his conscience," and proceeded to kill his two younger sisters and finally his father when he arrived home later.
Those early reports said the father, Greg Griego, was a former gangbanger who had found Jesus and become a pastor at a nearby mega church. In addition he was ministering to inmates in local lockups and serving as a volunteer chaplain for the Albuquerque Fire Department. He also owned the weapons his son used during the gruesome spree. A story in the Albuquerque Journal said the guns were kept unlocked so Nehemiah could get to them in case of an emergency.
After he finished off his family young Griego got it in his head that he would travel to a Wal-Mart that was close by. The plan was to open fire on the patrons just because he could, then go out in a blaze of glory during a gunfight with police. There have also been reports he sent his girl friend a photo of his dead mom and she didn't call the cops after getting it.
It isn't clear whether he actually got to the Wal-Mart or not, but he certainly didn't open fire in the parking lot there, or anywhere else for that matter. He did, however, go to the church he and his family attended regularly and meandered about the campus aimlessly. Most of the staff and Sunday School faculty were there attending a seminar. The subject was what to do in case an of active shooter incident on the grounds.
The church's coordinator of security, Vince Harrison told police Griego approached him with a story about his family being murdered. Harrison, a retired cop, called 911 then the two of them drove to the home were the real story quickly came tumbling out.
Last Friday, 33 months after the fact, Nehemiah Griego pleaded guilty on two counts of second degree murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death.
The tabloid news sites have been howling that he could get off with nothing more than probation. Yeah, that could happen and it could also be he serves time in some juvenile facility until he is 21 if he is sentenced as a child. That would be three years, since he has either turned 18 already, or will by the time another hearing is held in January. If the judge rules he is an adult and hits him with the maximum Griego is looking at 120 years.
His relatives and the people who knew him say they never saw the outburst of savagery coming. They all contend he was nice, respectful kid, who not only attended church, but played guitar in it's band. Harrison added that at an earlier date Nehemiah expressed interest in a military career after high school. An uncle, Eric Griego, a former state senator, has previously complained about the way the investigation was conducted and how the media has portrayed his nephew.
Well, Senator, let's face it--it was tough to make him look good nearly three years ago and it remains that way today.
Right now we don't know how long Nehemiah Griego will remain in custody. What we do know is if he is released in January, or after three years, or even in twenty, no matter what his mental state, he'll be able to get his hands on more guns as soon as he walks out the door.
Hey, it's a free country.