A teen accused in the fatal shooting of Santa Fe High School basketball star Fedonta “JB” White will remain incarcerated at a Farmington youth detention center, a state judge ruled Monday, despite his attorney’s request to have him released on GPS monitoring.

Estevan Montoya, 16, of Santa Fe also could face adult sanctions in the slaying.

Montoya, a Capital High School student, has been charged with an open count of murder along with counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, negligent use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a handgun, according to a petition filed Monday by the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities say he is suspected of killing White, a recent graduate of Santa Fe High, during a late-night house party attended by dozens of teens that extended into the early morning hours.

White had planned to attend the University of New Mexico this year and play basketball for the Lobos. His death left family, friends and fans grief-stricken over the weekend.

It was the fourth recent violent death of a Northern New Mexico high school student, prompting city and school officials to call for greater actions to address the needs of youth and protect them from violence — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a toll on them and their families.

Dan Marlowe, Montoya’s attorney, requested he be released to the custody of his grandmother, whom he has lived with for five years, on a GPS monitoring device.

He had not received any documents about Montoya’s charges prior to Monday’s hearing, Marlowe said.

But, he added, “My understanding of the facts of this whole incident is he was at a party. He did have a gun, from what I understand. I also understand there may be an issue of self-defense here.”

State District Judge T. Glenn Ellington ruled Montoya will remain in the youth detention center, at least until a hearing to determine whether he poses a danger to the community.

Assistant District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said prosecutors will file a notice with the court seeking adult sanctions against Montoya.

In New Mexico, youth ages 15 to 18 who are charged with first-degree murder can be classified as a serious youthful offender and subject to the same penalties as an adult.

Authorities arrested Montoya early Sunday morning. He is accused of shooting White around 3:30 a.m. Saturday during a party at a home in Chupadero.

White — who was struck in the shoulder, according to friends who said they had witnessed the shooting — was pronounced dead at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies responded to the shooting. Juan Ríos, a spokesman for the agency, told The New Mexican over the weekend he would provide a criminal complaint detailing the charges against Montoya on Monday. However, Ríos did not respond to a phone call or emails seeking a copy of the records.

In response to formal request for the documents under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act, Ríos said he would provide them within 15 days.

This is not Montoya’s first experience with the court system.

Heather Smallwood, a senior trial attorney with the District Attorney’s Office, said at Monday’s hearing Montoya was first referred to Children’s Court on a count of larceny when he was 10. He also was referred to the court earlier this year on one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

According to a Jan. 29 report, a Santa Fe police officer discovered 57 grams of marijuana in Montoya’s backpack at Capital High.

According to court records, Montoya received a waiver of time limitations April 29 that could have led to dismissal of his case if he had followed the terms for six months.

The terms included avoiding criminal charges and probation violations; staying away from drugs and alcohol, as well as people using drugs and alcohol; attending school and finishing required coursework; maintaining contact with his probation officer; completing 20 hours of community service; and attending therapy sessions.

Smallwood filed a petition to revoke the waiver Monday.

Montoya is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing before Ellington Aug. 13.

(4) comments

DArlene Sena

Mr. Spencer has so many valid points, however this is nothing new in our city. Since I was a teen in the late 70s their have been boys touting knives and guns. We lost a younger cousins to gun violence here in the late 90s in almost the exact same way, at a teenage party late at night. The city should be more strict on curfews for underage citizens and harder on parents who leave their children unsupervised in homes to go out of town like the parents in the home that this happened in. Parents should also lock up their guns and insure a child does not ever have access to them. My family is heartbroken seeing this as we recall the incident that occurred and destroyed us in the summer of 1996. Our beloved Martin Sena was at a teenage party at a house owned by the parents of Rick Cassidy, the current owner of The Crow Bar downtown. Another teen named Andrew Roessler was carrying a gun and acting aggressively. He shot our Martin between the eyes and he died immediately. The boy was convicted of manslaughter and sent to the state juvenile institute in Springer, NM where he only spent a little over a year and was released when he turned 18. A couple years later he was involved with another violent killing of an elderly gentleman named Mitchell Hanrahan in an Aiport Road apartment complex. Your paper reported on all of this. This senseless crime of J.B. White was so similar to what we experienced as the parents of Cassidy were also out of town and not present to supervise the teenage party. Out heart aches for JB’s family. This type of a death is a loss you never recover from. Parents need to be held accountable, fined, sued, maybe even serve jail time themselves for their negligence in letting this happen. We need to help our youth in this age group continue to make good decisions and that includes locking up your guns and not leaving teens unsupervised overnight. Fault also lies on adults who are not the parents, in this case the SFPD. We were told today by your paper that SFPD was already warned that this child had a gun and had already threatened other teens with it. Why were they not more proactive in getting to the bottom this and taking the gun from him in the Spring when this was originally reported to them? This is a tragedy that we as adults are all responsible for. Bless JB’s family as they grieve this terrible terrible loss.

Khal Spencer

There is no reason a sixteen year old should be carrying around a handgun. For that matter, I cannot think of too many reasons a teen should even have access to a handgun unless under strict adult supervision or home emergency. The fact that so many kids are running around packing heat and not packing maturity or self restraint is a lethal problem, as this case demonstrates. Heck, we had fights as teens. They were with fists and even if injured and mortified, we lived to think about it. Of course, Mr. McCormick, our nosetackle built assistant school principle, was the biggest deterrent to schoolkid misbehavior. Too bad that is out of style.

The fact that upwards of seventy kids were partying at o-dark thirty in the age of Covid leads me to ask another question. Do any of these kids have parents who still have a pulse?

By the time I was sixteen, I was shooting smallbore and largebore pistol at the range with my stepdad, a competitive shooter. Of course in NYS buying a handgun was an onerous job and folks with a pistol permit took the responsibility seriously (I had a NYS pistol permit in my youth when I lived there). Handgun responsibility was part of an ethical gun culture. Especially since the little banger was registered to you.

In the past I've suggested the state offer hefty tax rebates for gun safes (similar to the hefty one I got for my rooftop PV panels) with the provision that anyone accepting a rebate sign an affidavit promising to use it in a manner consistent with the rebate. I also see no problem with a mandatory short course provided by the state or by CCW instructors offered at little or no expense (a state subsidy would pay for itself if it saved a few shootings, which cost society hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in public expense) for anyone buying a handgun for the first time. Tie it to an ID card and make us a Point of Contact State so an FOID could be used for purchases.

Handguns are the overwhelming tools of the trade for crooks, punks, and gang bangers. Those of us in the firearms community who are tired of being tarred with the brush of these killings have a job to do to reduce the misuse.

Rene Cruz

Maybe you should write for the Santa Fe New Mexican

Khal Spencer

Inez and Phill are welcome to invite me. But Robin would probably go ballistic.

Welcome to the discussion.

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