What is murder ?

May 18 2022

Dear Mr. Justin Garcia

Las Cruces Sun News

Sir a few days ago I read an article regarding the shooting of Amelia Baca a citizen of Las Cruces written by you. This incident without a doubt was a tragedy that has befallen on our community.

As a former police officer/Chief of Police I was taken back by the letters on the front page, “Amelia Baca was executed.” Wow, Mr. Garcia that is one hell of a statement.

Executed as I have known the word to be a verb of describing “murder.” And what is murder? Our American dictionary states Murder is a noun which is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human by another. Similar: killing, homicide, assassination, liquidation, extermination, execution, slaughter, butchery, massacre, manslaughter, patricide, matricide, parricide, fratricide, sororicide, filicide, infanticide, uxoricide, regicide, slaying.

In other words, murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.

I’ve attempted to explain what is murder. The main elements of this wanton act is malice. And what is malice? Malice is the intention or desire to do evil; ill will, wrongful intention, especially as increasing of certain offenses.

Let’s see if I have covered this subject of murder: unlawful killing, without justification or valid excuse, premeditated killing, with malice aforethought. Now we add the word “execute.” What do you mean by execute?

As the word is described in Websters Dictionary Execute is a transitive verb.

1. to carry out fully; put completely into effect execute a command.

2. to do what is provided or required by execute a decree.

3. to put to death especially in compliance with a legal sentence.

4. to make or produce (something, such as a work of art) especially by carrying out a design.

But in this tense is to Kill someone as a punishment for a crime.

While stationed in Saudi Arabia I witness Islamic punishment (execution) for a crime – beheading as an example. While in the streets of Los Angeles I investigated gang executions by Mara Salva trucha (MS-13) and 18Street gangs, the dismembering of Tijuana Drug Cartel members and the execution of my nephew at the AMC theater in La Puente Mall in California. These are a few of the executions that I have witnessed and investigated.

Now you are probably wondering what does this have to do with the “Amelia Baca was executed.” Well sir, your article has arrested, judges and found this Las Cruces Police Officer guilty of a crime without his day in court. I remember reading our U.S. Constitution where it has stated, “innocent until proven guilty,” and “judged by his peers,” and so forth.

I firmly believe that you Mr. Garcia have been pondering to the masses. This homicide of Ms. Baca is a tragedy as mentioned before but by your printed words, intended or not, you have “Monday quartered backed the case” and have set an anti-police attitude within the community.

My grandmother once mentioned to me “stick and stone will break my bones but words will never harm me.” No sir, words do more damn any you know. For instance, when the officer responded to the call and he confronted Ms. Baca with the knives was there malice or premediated intent to kill the victim? What was the threat level in question? Did Ms. Baca lunged or moved towards the officer with the intent to harm the officer? Did the officer respond to Ms. Baca’s action in self-defense?

Case in point as a young police officer on LAPD I was stabbed twice in the hand at Hollenbeck Park (ELA) and in the chest on 5th and Main Street. Both male individuals were later diagnosed a mentally unstable. My mistake in both instances I let the individuals get with less than 21” from me. The reason I mentioned these two instances has the investigation revealed the approximately of Ms. Baca and the officer? These are elements that have to be investigated thoroughly before any statements of the case if revealed to the public. If not, the media and public crucify the officer before his day in court.

Mr. Garcia in all my years as a law enforcement officer and a military veteran I have lived by these words “there are three sides to a story. Your side, my side and the truth.” Lets see what the truth of the investigation reveals before finding the officer guilty.


Ramón V. Montijo, M.A.

(ret. Police Chief)


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