ROSWELL — A New Mexico man who pleaded no contest in the 2016 killings of his wife and their four daughters ages 3-14 faces five consecutive life sentences.

Juan David Villegas-Hernandez's pleas to five counts of first-degree murder ended his trial May 13, and he was sentenced May 19 by state District Judge Dustin K. Hunter.

“Horror is what occurred to this family,” Hunter said during the sentencing in the Chaves County courthouse in Roswell.

While prosecutors said Villegas-Hernandez shot Cynthia Villegas and their daughters after he learned his wife planned to divorce him, Villegas-Hernandez maintained his innocence and said another person was responsible for the killings,

Prosecutors said Villegas-Hernandez shot the victims at close range at their home before fleeing to Mexico. He was apprehended by Mexican authorities and later extradited.

Consecutive life sentences were the only just outcome, said Scot Key, district attorney for New Mexico’s 12th Judicial District.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(1) comment

Andrew Lucero

I wish we had Roswell's Judges and District Attorney.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.