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USMS Arrest Man in LA for a NE Albuquerque Homicide from 2021

By: ABQRAW staff

Posted: 12/04/2022 @ 8:20AM

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 30, 2022, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) along with the Louisiana Fugitive Task Force arrested Michael Kelly. Michael Kelly, 29, was wanted for a homicide that occurred on November 18, 2021. Kelly has been booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail and will be extradited back to New Mexico.


Backstory on the Murder Case:

On Thursday, November 18, 2021, at approximately 07:40AM, APD officers were called to the Copper Ridge Apartments located at 557 Tramway Blvd. N.E. When officers arrived, they located a female victim, later identified as Brandi Rael, dead inside of a white Toyota Corolla. Police had reportedly responded to reports of gunfire at the complex around 1:00AM, but they found no signs of a disturbance or foul play.

Over the course of the homicide investigation, APD detectives were able to obtain surveillance video from a nearby property. In reviewing the surveillance video, officers were able to see the suspect, Kelly, enter the victim’s car on the passenger side. Kelly is then seen exiting the passenger side of the vehicle, Kelly then interacts with Rael from outside of they vehicle, and Kelly then fires several shots from passenger side of the vehicle. Neighbors reportedly heard screams around the same time gunshots rang out. The video also showed the suspect, Kelly, walking toward an apartment building when moments later, a light is seen coming on in the master bedroom of an apartment.** This is also the same apartment that Michael Kelly had listed as his current address and he was subsequently removed from this same apartment later in the day on November 18, 2021. **APD lists the apartment number in the criminal complaint, but since Kelly no longer lives there, we won't provide the apartment number.

Kelly reportedly told police that he had been in an argument with Rael in the parking lot, but that he walked away as their conversation became heated and he didn’t see her again. Detectives ascertained that Rael was also known to frequent the apartment complex and the couple was in an ongoing relationship due to a recent police report from a domestic dispute. Police reportedly found similar fentanyl pills both in Rael’s Toyota Corolla and the bedroom that Kelly supposedly slept in. Kelly claimed to detectives that the fentanyl pills belonged solely to Rael. However, other individuals that APD interviewed reported that Kelly had recruited Rael to help him sell the fentanyl and that Kelly had stolen some of Rael's earnings from the narcotic sales. The father of Rael’s children reportedly told APD detectives that he heard Rael returned to the apartment complex to get her belongings back from Kelly and that Kelly had also stolen a .40 caliber handgun from her.

One of the detectives that was working the Rael homicide investigation reported in the criminal complaint that they were conducting an additional investigation into a different shooting at the In & Out Market at 7817 Central Ave NE, when the business owner told the APD detective about a Black male known as "Louisiana." The business owner reported to the detective that he knew who "Louisiana" was because a few months prior to the shooting at 7817 Central Ave NE, a male had dropped his wallet inside the store. When the wallet was recovered inside of the store by the business owner, the store owner looked inside of the wallet, and they saw a Louisiana Operating License belonging to Michael Isaiah Kelly. Later, Michael Kelly returned to the business and the business owner returned the wallet to Kelly. The business owner reported to the detective that Kelly had been in and around his store many more times. In addition, the business owner claimed that had seen Kelly driving a Black Nissan Altima while coming and going from the parking lot of his business.

On November 23, 2021, APD detectives executed a search warrant for the Black Nissan Altima. During the search, two shell casings matching the same caliber of those inside of Brandi Rael's vehicle were located underneath the windshield wiper of the Black Nissan Altima. According to APD, the two shell casings were recorded into evidence and tagged to be tested by the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).

On March 28, 2022, an investigator with the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) contacted APD. The NIBIN investigator provided APD with a report showing that the firearm used to kill Brandi Rael had been used in another shooting at 8000 Montgomery Blvd NE.

On Thursday, May 26, 2022, a detective with APD finalized an additional review of the NIBIN casings that had been tested from the shooting at 557 Tramway Blvd NE. While the investigator was reviewing the shell casings, it was later found that the gun was connected to ten other incidents before Brandi Rael's homicide, the shooting of Brandi Rael, and one additional incident after Brandi Rael's homicide, so the detective connected a total of 12 shootings to this firearm (see details below).

The criminal cases/acts are listed as followed - four shootings occurred off Dallas St NE, five shootings occurred off Pennsylvania St NE and one shooting occurred off Rhode Island St NE:

1. 21-0026040 (300 Dallas St NE, Negligent Use of a Deadly Weapon)

2. 21-0062207 (243 Pennsylvania St NE, Negligent Use of a Deadly Weapon)

3. 21-0062278 (313 Pennsylvania St NE, Incident)

4. 21-0064275 (115 Pennsylvania St NE, Negligent Use of a Deadly Weapon)

5. 21-0065957 (301 Dallas St NE, Incident)

6. 21-0075459 (404 Rhode Island St NE, Aggravated Assault deadly weapon)

7. 21-0077722 (313 Pennsylvania St NE, Shoot At/From MV Result No Harm)

8. 21-0081049 (201 Dallas St NE, Incident)

9. 21-0083629 (301 Dallas St NE, Incident)

10. 21-0088512 (114 Pennsylvania St NE, Negligent Use of a Deadly Weapon)

11. 21-0091 792 (Shooting of Brandi Rael)

12. 22-0017283 (Shooting at Dwelling/Occupied Build)

On June 30, 2022, a warrant was requested for Michael Kelly for an Open Count of Murder for the shooting death of Brandi Rael. In November, APD was reportedly looking for Kelly, but it is unknown when Kelly actually fled the Albuquerque area.

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