It has been a long three years for Nehemiah Griego. He has spent much of it in an Albuquerque facility known as, the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center. It is a place where the state of New Mexico sends boys who have behaved badly--really, really badly.
Nehemiah qualified for membership in the club one night in the latter part of January, 2013. That's when he took out a gun and killed his entire immediate family.
When he was apprehended, he told authorities he shot his mother, Sara because he was, "frustrated with her." Then he shot his nine year old brother, Zephania because the kid got upset over their mom's death. After he took a photo of the bodies of Sara and Zeph he confessed to police, "I lost my conscience." That, even deeper plunge into sociopathy, is what motivated him to murder his sisters, five year old Jael and two year old Angelina. He then hid out and waited for his father, Greg to get home so he could finish the terrible business. Nehemiah Griego was on the cusp of being 16 years old when he started pulling the trigger.
As usual everyone who knew the family claimed they had no clue such a nightmare could happen. Nehemiah was described as a respectful teen who told people he wanted to go into the military and later become a cop. He fancied a wardrobe of camouflage clothing and regularly attended Albuquerque's massive Calvary church, were his father had once been on the pastoral staff.
Greg Griego was a former gang banger, turned minister. He served as chaplain to the Albuquerque Fire Department and ministered to inmates in local lockups. His resume as a man of peace was a little sketchy though. The reverend also owned at least two semi-automatic rifles and an unknown number of other weapons. One, or two of them were used during the multiple murder and were intended for use in an unrealized fantasy to gun down shoppers at a local Wal-Mart.
Yes, as always, the All American family had a dark side and in this case it was a lot darker.
Yesterday Nehemiah was in court. There was testimony that before the shooting he suffered emotional abuse by his mother and physical abuse from his dad which was bad enough he may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
He had also been diagnosed as having Schizo Affective Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and, "some," learning disabilities.
However that is all in the past now. Griego's public defender pointed out his client had pleaded guilty to all charges last October, proving he was taking responsibility for his actions. Plus, the good doctors at Sequoyah say he is rehabbing mentally quite well.
So much so in fact, that, according to a supervisor at Sequoyah, young Mr. Griego, now nearly 19, "Has matured into a role model for troubled teens." A teacher described him as a, "thoughtful student," but just so everyone knows things aren't completely peachy, the same teacher said Nehemiah espouses racist views and has a deep fascination with war, Herr Hitler's Nazi party, and the concept of absolute power.
Well nobody is perfect. Besides, if we jailed all the racists who are enamored with that fascist bullshit there wouldn't be anyone left to vote for either Don Trump, or Ted Cruz.
Judge John Romero was so impressed by all the progress he ruled the defendant would be sentenced as a juvenile, rather than an adult. What that means is that in two years, a 21 year old, Nehemiah Griego will walk out of Sequoyah, a free, or at least mostly free, guy.
Yesterday, in spite of all the optimism, one shrink testified Griego should continue to be arbitrarily treated by a doctor for a minimum of two years beyond his 21st birthday.
Which, of course, begs the question--in March, 2018, will the deadly little geek actually be, "cured," or will he simply be kicked out onto the street no matter what his condition just because that is what New Mexico law dictates?
We'll certainly find out in a hurry, because if we know anything, it's as soon as he leaves the confines of the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center, Brother Griego will be able to get his hands on another gun. And, at that point, it's just a matter of whether he once again, "loses his conscience," or not.
Hey, let's face it, such dramatic moments are, The American Way. Just ask the NRA.