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.