AG Balderas Keeps Two Convicted Murderers Behind Bars


Contact: David Carl (505) 288-2465

Albuquerque, NM – Today, the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld murder convictions in two separate cases argued on appeal by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Albert Tegeda, III and Arnoldo Navarette are both convicted of first degree murder, and will remain in state custody.

Although Tegeda had testified at his 2016 trial that he had acted in self-defense, a jury rejected that claim and found Tegeda guilty of the willful and deliberate murder of Celso Martinez. A jury convicted Navarette for the willful and deliberate murder of Reynaldo Ornelas and the aggravated battery (with a deadly weapon) of Danny Ornelas at an incident that took place in Portales on Memorial Day weekend in 1993. In both cases, the Supreme Court agreed with the State that sufficient evidence supported the convictions and that the defendants’ other appellate claims lacked merit.

“My number one priority is keeping the most violent, dangerous criminals behind bars and off our streets,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “Today’s decisions from the Supreme Court support our conviction of two violent and dangerous criminals, and affirm the hard work of local prosecutors and law enforcement in obtaining these convictions and my Criminal Appeals Division in fighting to uphold them.”

As a result of the efforts of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and the D.A.’s offices that originally prosecuted these cases, both of these dangerous criminals will continue to serve their terms of life imprisonment.

Today’s rulings, with background on each case, as well as photographs of Tegeda and Navarette, are attached below.