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Lawsuit: APD Detective Fabricated Murder Case

Lawsuit: APD Detective Fabricated Murder Case

Innocent Man Spent 10 Months In Jail

APD Detective Jodi Gonterman Alleged Have Given False Testimony To A Grand Jury

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An Albuquerque man who spent 10 months in jail for a murder he didn’t commit has sued the Albuquerque Police detective who put him behind bars, alleging she manufactured a case against him by coercing three witnesses to implicate him and then misled a judge and falsely testified to a grand jury about the case.

The lawsuit, filed in state District Court by Christopher Cruz, 23, alleged that APD Det. Jodi Gonterman “fabricated” information to obtain an arrest warrant against Cruz for the June 26, 2015 murder of Jaydon Chavez-Silver. She then testified to that false information to a grand jury that indicted Cruz, the lawsuit said, adding that Gonterman knew that Cruz had an alibi and that she failed to disclose it to grand jury.

“At the time she [Gonterman] secured the indictment she knew that there was no physical or scientific evidence linking Chris to the murder,” said the lawsuit, which was filed on May 18. “She knew that Chris had an alibi, which she failed to investigate and failed to disclose to the grand jury.

“And she knew the witnesses she had coerced and threatened were unreliable and had provided false statements.”

Two other men have now been sentenced in Chavez-Silver’s murder and a third is set to go to trial in the fall.

Cruz and another man, Donovan Maez, were charged with Chavez-Silver’s murder and they both spent 10 months in jail before being released after the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office dropped the charges against them in August 2016.

The three men who initially implicated Cruz later recanted their stories “and indicated they lied out of fear and intimidation to make their stories more believable to Det. Gonterman,” the lawsuit said. “Two of the witnesses she coerced to implicate Chris did not have firsthand knowledge of events, which Gonterman knew, and gave multiple conflicting stories, which Gonterman did not bother to investigate or corroborate before having Chris arrested and charged with murder.

“A third witness is one of the real perpetrators of Jaydon’s murder and has now accepted responsibility for his role in the killing.”

The lawsuit said that Cruz and Maez were at a friend’s house paying video games when Chavez-Silver was killed around 10 p.m. in a house at 1101 Nakomis NE.

The lawsuit wasn’t the first time that Gonterman had been accused of fabricating a case against Cruz and Donovan Maez. Last December, Dennis Maez, Donovan’s grandfather, filed a 23-page complaint against Gonterman with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. The complaint, which is still pending, alleged that Gonterman might have committed perjury, and threatened and coaxed witnesses to provide false testimony against his grandson and Cruz.

“Defense attorneys and investigators determined that Det. Gonterman supplied witnesses with a narrative and through intimidation coerced, and forced, by way of threats, witnesses to provide the false information in the narrative supplied by Det. Gonterman for the purpose of implicating Maez and Cruz,” Dennis Maez’s complaint said. “Det. Gonterman basically threatened witnesses that if they did not acquiesce and tell her what she wanted to hear, and demanded to hear, she would charge the witnesses as conspirators in the murder of Chavez-Silver.”

An APD spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an ABQ Free Press request for comment on Cruz’s lawsuit.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

Latest posts by Dennis Domrzalski (see all)


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  • Mark
    May 23, 2017, 1:29 pm

    Where are those good cops again putting the perjury suspect (Gonterman) in steel bracelets? That damn blue line in the way fellas/ladies? Better yet, where is AG Balderas (Chairman of the NMLEAB) filing for her revocation? Anyone? All fucken spineless jellyfish……no honor and no integrity, therefore not worthy of one iota of respect from this citizen! Thumbs down to all the Clowns….

    • Anonymous@Mark
      May 23, 2017, 2:04 pm

      Anonymous (5 months ago) wrote…
      Gonterman and her superiors appear to have violated several statutes and standard operating procedures:
      NMSA 1978, § 29-1-1: It is a police officer’s job to investigate all violations of the criminal laws of New Mexico.
      NMSA 1978, § 3-13-2: It is a police officer’s Job to capture any person violating the criminal laws of New Mexico.
      Sworn Personnel Position Descriptions, § 3-11-3: It is the police sergeant’s job to supervise other police officer’s investigations.
      Investigation of Violent Crimes, § 2-28-2(D)(1): In a murder investigation, it is the homicide detective’s job to oversee the entire investigation.
      Investigation of Violent Crimes, § 2-28-2(D)(4): It is the homicide detective’s job to provide information to Criminalistics and prioritize what evidence needs to be examined by the crime lab.
      Submission of Evidence, § 2-08-10: When laboratory analysis is required of any evidence, it is the submitting officer or the investigating detective’s responsibility to notify Criminalistics.
      Investigation of Violent Crimes, § 2-28-2(E)(1): In a murder investigation, it is Criminalistics personnel’s job to collect and process evidence for the investigation.
      Preliminary and Follow Up Criminal Investigations, § 2-24-4(F): It is the supervisor’s job to ensure that a proper and thorough investigation is completed.
      Submission of Cases to the District Attorney, § 2-39-1(A): A police supervisor must review all cases submitted to the District Attorney for prosecution.
      Preliminary and Follow Up Criminal Investigations, Policy: A police officer must complete their investigation in a thorough, efficient, and timely manner.
      Preliminary and Follow Up Criminal Investigations, Policy: A police officer must protect against coercion or involuntary confessions and admissions.
      Preliminary and Follow Up Criminal Investigations, Policy: A Police Officer must never obtain or use a false confession and admission.
      The violations of these statutes and regulations, as well as others not listed above, impose liability against the Law Enforcement Defendants under New Mexico law and existing case law under the Tort Claims Act.

  • Anonymous
    May 23, 2017, 3:50 pm

    And what is the connection between Jaydon Chavez-Silver’s mother, Nicole Chavez-Lucero, and APD?

    With her new found fame Nicole became a Big Santa Fe Roundhouse advocate for Mayor Berry’s legislation to bring back double dipping (Pension and a Paycheck) for retired police officers. Shortly after that, Nicole was hired by APD to be the department’s liaison with APD’s Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandated (six) Community Policing Councils (CPCs).

    Was this a play and we will pay, with citizen’s tax dollars, win/win/win plan that ended with a well placed Berry spoiler into the – 2 year old and barley off the ground – CPC network?

    Perhaps Nicole would be willing to answer a few questions. Contact her at nchavez-lucero@cabq.gov or at (505) 382-7621

  • Aya
    May 23, 2017, 8:37 pm

    Oh, no!
    Looks like she’s caught dead to rights on this one!
    Hope the eight hours paid leave and the raise and promotion teach never again to commit a bunch of felonies.
    Meanwhile, APD whines and whines about how no one trusts them…..

  • Jo
    May 23, 2017, 9:30 pm


  • Anonymous
    May 26, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Detective Gonterman didn’t do this on her own. While the AG is busy investigating Beauty Pageants and the UNM Athletics Department, I’m willing to bet critical evidence within APD is disappearing.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

Latest posts by Dennis Domrzalski (see all)