Killing Was Self-Defense.(Journal North)

Byline: Jeremy Pawloski, Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

Slain youth’s family denies allegations he was involved with gangs

A 17-year-old boy who admitted to fatally stabbing a Santa Fe police officer’s brother last year walked out of court a free man late Thursday night after a jury found that he acted in self-defense.

Fred Mestas of Santa Fe was at an undisclosed location Friday afternoon out of fear for his safety, his attorney, Stephen Aarons said.

Meanwhile, the family of Jason Vasquez, 19, who was stabbed by Mestas in the heart and the abdomen the night of June 13, 2001, was trying to come to grips with the verdict.

Mestas was acquitted of second-degree murder.

“For me, working in Santa Fe and having to work in the area where my brother was killed … it’s hard,” said Jason’s older brother, Santa Fe Police Officer Robert Vasquez, 24. “Obviously, no justice was served. …


Murder Defendant Describes Fatal Fight.(Journal North)

Demonstration Given in Court

Bent down on one knee, 17-year-old Fred Mestas showed a jury Wednesday how he pulled a knife from a strap in his pants and used it to strike out during a fight at the Cottonwood Village mobile home park on June 13, 2001.

“I reached for the knife, I put my head down and I just started punching,” Mestas said earlier during his testimony.

Two of Mestas’ blows with the knife mortally wounded Jason Vasquez, 19, the younger brother of Santa Fe Police Officer Robert Vasquez.

Mestas is charged with a count of second-degree murder in Vasquez’s death and tampering with evidence for throwing away the knife. …

Jury Says Killing Was Self-Defense.(Journal North)

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Teen Facing Murder Charges in Trailer Park Stabbing.(Journal North)

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | March 13, 2002 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Santa Fe boy despondent over losing his ex-girlfriend brought a kitchen knife with him when he went looking for her at a mobile home park the night of June 13, 2001, according to http://www.go-binder.com/ and  court records.

“He was in a sad mood,” Eric Rael has said in court of his friend Fred Mestas, on the night Mestas left to find his ex-girlfriend, Felicia Valdez.

Prosecutors allege Mestas used the knife that night to kill Jason Vasquez, a Santa Fe police officer’s brother.

Mestas, now 17, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Vasquez’s death. His trial starts Thursday before 1st District Judge Stephen Pfeffer.

According to court records, Mestas and Vasquez had a fistfight when a group of teens confronted each other on Sycamore Loop in the Cottonwood Village mobile home park the night of Vasquez’s death. …

Fatal Stabbing Suspect Out of Jail.

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | August 9, 2001 | Copyright
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Byline: Wren Propp Journal Staff Writer

Teen Now Under House Arrest

A 16-year-old accused of stabbing a man to death in a Santa Fe mobile home park was released from jail Wednesday but placed under house arrest while waiting for trial.

Two state district court judges had to sign off on the release of Fred Mestas, who faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Jason Vasquez, 20, of Penasco.

Vasquez was stabbed once in the chest and once in the abdomen during an altercation between two groups of teen-agers who had a history of violent confrontation.

The murder charge against Mestas is being heard by State District Judge Stephen Pfeffer. …

Friends Say Fatal-Stabbing Suspect Was Attacked.

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | July 12, 2001 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

Teen Is Facing Murder Charge

Friends of Fred Mestas, a 16-year-old charged in the stabbing death of Jason Vasquez, 20, testified Wednesday that they saw Mestas being attacked by a group of 15 or more the night of Vasquez’s death.

“As I ran up I saw just a bunch of guys around Fred, beating him as if he were a dog,” said Michael Gonzales during Mestas’ preliminary hearing before Santa Fe Magistrate George Anaya.

Gonzales had previously written in a statement to police that he saw “Fred stab someone” that night, Deputy District Attorney Tony Julian said.

But Gonzales said Wednesday he does not recall Mestas stabbing anyone on the night Vasquez died. …

Self-Defense Claimed as Murder Trial Opens.(Journal North)

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | March 15, 2002 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

Trailer Park Site of Stabbing

A prosecutor said Thursday that 17-year-old Fred Mestas “was a festering boil of love, jealousy, anger, revenge and finally murder,” on the night of Jason Vasquez’s fatal stabbing at the Cottonwood Village mobile home park on June 13, 2001.

But Mestas’ attorney said Mestas acted out of self-defense during a fight that night and “was getting hit multiple times by multiple people,” including by one young man wielding a broomstick, when Mestas stabbed the 19-year-old Vasquez twice.

“Thank God, he had a knife,” Mestas’ attorney, Stephen Aarons, said during opening statements in Mestas’ second-degree murder trial before 1st Judicial District Judge Stephen Pfeffer. …

Suspect Says He Was Jumped.

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | June 22, 2001 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

Teen Held on Open Count of Murder

A 16-year-old boy charged with murder in a fatal stabbing at the Cottonwood Village mobile home park last week told police he was “jumped” while taking a walk on Sycamore Loop, according to the probable cause statement for his arrest.

Fred Mestas, 16, of Santa Fe, is charged with an open count of murder in the fatal stabbing of Jason Vasquez, 20, of Penasco on the night of June 14.

Vasquez was stabbed twice once in the chest and once in the abdomen in front of 2612 Sycamore Loop and died at the scene, according to the statement.

Mestas had “visible injuries to his face, arms and neck area” when he turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies Thursday near the Old Las Vegas Highway with his mother, the probable cause statement says.

Gun Report Puts Teen Slaying Suspect Back in Jail.

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | November 15, 2001 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

House Arrest Order Violation Alleged

A Children’s Court judge on Wednesday ordered that a Santa Fe boy charged with murder must go back to jail after he was accused of violating his house arrest by shooting a neighbor in the leg with a pellet gun, a police report said.

Children’s Court Judge Barbara Vigil said in court Wednesday that she does not know if the charge that Fred Mestas, 16, shot a neighbor in the leg with a pellet gun is true. Mestas’ attorney on Wednesday entered a denial to the charge.

Vigil nonetheless placed Mestas back in detention and said that, even if Mestas was only shooting a pellet gun at tin cans, that in itself is a probation violation. …

Boy Charged in Killing Released From Detention.

Article from: Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | November 20, 2001 | Copyright
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Byline: Jeremy Pawloski Journal Staff Writer

Police Allege Youth Used Pellet Gun

A Children’s Court judge on Monday ordered that a Santa Fe boy charged in a killing be released from detention, after his attorney argued that an alleged violation of his conditions of release was unfounded.

Last week, Children’s Court Judge Barbara Vigil ordered that Fred Mestas, 16, must return to juvenile detention because of the alleged violation in a juvenile case separate from his charges in connection with a killing.

Mestas spent four days in jail after prosecutors on Nov. 14 brought before Vigil an allegation that he violated his interim order by shooting a man in the leg with a pellet gun.

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