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  • Writer's pictureABQ RAW

OPINION: Plea Deals and the Arnold Tool Make Getting Justice a Joke in New Mexico

My name is Serena Sierra-Fazio. My brother Antonio Emmanuel Jaramillo was taken from my

family in 2020. Everything I do now is for him! Everything my family does for him is to ensure

we get justice.

However, the amount of crime, and murder that is happening in this State, and City is so

unimaginable, it is disgusting. I have always been a person who works to enhance capacity

building, sustainability, and awareness to the issues. And I will continue to do that.

I will never forget a few dates in my life, and one of them is the date of December 17th , 2020.

This would seem like any other normal day. Until I receive a message from my mom in a group

text to my sister and me. It read “Have you spoke to your brother”?

I said no, and my sister said no. My mom said, well he keeps getting a bunch of Facebook

messages, asking “is it true? Are you okay’? My mom sees there is a news alert for a homicide

where my brother is living with roommates. Off Menaul and 8 th Street. We all try calling him,

but no answer. My mom decided to drive down there to the house, and my sister decides to

call 242-COPS. They both found out at the same time. My brother had been murdered.

My sister calls me back, I am at Wal-Mart shopping for my job, I answer, she is crying. I said

what happened? She said Tony is gone, he was murdered. I remember my knees buckling up,

and my hands letting go of my basket. I screamed… NOOOO…It was one week before my

brothers 33 rd Birthday. He was taken from us on December 16 th , 2020. My brother was

murdered in his home, they tied him up, beat him, and shot him in the back of the head.

and robbed him.

It was the most horrifying moment for my family to find out through the news, through his

messages. Nobody from APD, from the crime unit, from anywhere notified us. He had been

gone already 24 hours. It has been (2)- years/24 months since he was taken from us. Are we

close to justice...? We are one step closer to a road of unpredictable possibilities. That is our

justice system. Have all individuals been arrested, yes. All (5) cowards are locked up...

I know everyone has their own political views and their opinions of it won’t happen to me. I

have a gun to protect my family, and my home. I honestly thought the same. I was so wrapped

up in my own opinions of injustices’ of trying to help others that I never for one second thought

I would be a victim of someone being taken from me. TAKEN, from me!!! A word I hardly ever

used in my vocabulary.

My brother was murdered by five individuals who all have criminal history, some already have

been arrested and charged for murder, but unfortunately never convicted. If our actual “justice

system” did its job without so much plea deals, my brother could be alive. All of the individuals

have serious criminal charges that include federal charges and yet they are out walking the

streets. I don’t care if your republican or democrat. And I need others to understand that unless they want change, you all need to get involved. Because I can tell you, I have personally sent emails to every State Representative, State Senator, and especially those on the criminaljustice committee and got no response but a few...

The District Attorney’s office, is so out to getting plea deals and honestly are so overwhelmed that it should be illegal. Broken promises, and shitty laws. The police, judges, have no option but to follow the ridiculous laws our Legislation votes on and passes. We need to hold our Legislators’ accountable.

We need better crime laws, and bills. This ARNOLD assessment was sold to the public as a lie. It is a JOKE!! And instead of them saying we screwed up and taking accountability and changing it, they leave it in place. I feel horrible for all the representatives that had their house shot up, no one should go through that, but I hope you being a victim on a level now, makes you open up your eyes. And thankfully no one got hurt, but that is not the reality for others!

If anyone takes anything away from my story, take this away. Everyone says I am praying for

you, and my thoughts are with you and the family. Thank you, but what I need is for you to get

out of your bubble, step up and vote properly. To pay attention to the bills and hold our

legislative committees responsible. When my brother was taken in 2020, he was murder

number 74 out of 76 for that year. However, 2022 ended with 172 lost loved ones. It nearly

tripled. I have been a hardcore democrat my whole life. I have never voted for a Republican In my life.

I can tell you this will change. I don’t care if you are Democrat or Republican, if you are not

helping, or bringing solutions, I won’t vote for you. Many families are tired of this city and state

not being safe. Don’t get me wrong, I am not naïve and I know that the crime is a multifaceted

approach to change everything. I know we need a lot of money to make change. And I know

not one Mayor, or city council, county commission can do all that. It will take time and

decades. But we need to start having the proper conversations, and getting the actual families

involved in some of the crime bills. And we are not saying every criminal is worthless and

should be locked up for ever, but if you do violent crimes, yes. If someone dies, yes!!!!

I was the Director of Program Services for Fathers Building Futures, so I know what good

programming, successful reentry, trauma informed therapies, parenting classes, retribution

can do to formerly incarcerated individuals, but we need more resources...

My mother is the co-founder to the New Mexico Crusaders for Justice. Since we lost my

brother, we have met hundreds of families. If we had to lose my brother in this horrific way,

then you best believe we will do everything we can to make sure another family don’t suffer

like we did. My brother will not have died in vain. But I am tired of meeting families due to a

taken loved one from murder. Half these families have no justice. That is disgraceful for its

citizens, its constituents’.

I will end with this; my brother was taken away too soon. He had not lived his full potential yet,

and we miss him every day! Because he was so kind hearted, loving, and outgoing. His laugh

was seriously contagious. My kids, nieces, nephew will never get the opportunity to have them at their biggest accomplishments ever again... Because they were his world. And no family should ever feel the pain, and injustice of losing someone to gun violence and murder.

Serena Sierra-Fazio is an Albuquerque community member who's brother Antonio Emmanuel Jaramillo was killed. The trial for the people responsible for his murder are all pending.

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