November 8, 2022

Steven Candelaria

Steven Candelaria Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder for the 2020 Shooting Death of Luciano Montoya Jr.

Steven Candelaria Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder for the 2020 Shooting Death of Luciano Montoya Jr.

Albuquerque, NM – This afternoon, a jury found Steven Candelaria guilty of second degree murder, aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault against a household member, and abuse of a child. Candelaria could face over 25 years in prison, sentencing will take place in 2023.

Steven Candelaria and his girlfriend Raquel Martinez-Chavez had been in a domestic dispute the night before the murder on November 16, 2020. Martinez-Chavez stated to police officers that she, and the child she shares with Candelaria, left the apartment that she was living in with Candelaria to stay with Luciano due to their domestic violence incident. The next day she exited Luciano’s residence to walk to her vehicle to retrieve clothing that she could take inside, during this time she witnesses Steven and his brother Brandon running towards her with firearms and telling her to “get on the ground.” At this point Martinez-Chavez was pistol whipped and Steven and his brother Brandon began shooting at the dwelling with Luciano, Luciano’s father and Martinez-Chavez’s child inside the home at the time of incident. Bullets sprayed and struck Luciano, resulting in his death. 

“What is Steven Candelaria’s responsibility in this killing? He’s responsible for all of it,” said Senior Trial Attorney Jordan Machin in closing statements. “Retaliation is not a defense for murder. Revenge is not a defense for murder. They, in fact, prove murder.”

The trial lasted over a week and the jury deliberated for four hours before reaching their verdict.

“Luciano Montoya Jr. did not deserve to die and Raquel Martinez-Chavez and her child did not need to go through this trauma due to a jealous and vindictive partner, Steven Candelaria,” said District Attorney Raúl Torrez. “Mr. Candelaria’s defense was that he was shot at first which is completely false and does not add up to the evidence in the surveillance video, ballistic analysis and testimony given during this trial. I feel for the children that Luciano Montoya Jr. left behind due to this senseless act and hope that his family finds some comfort from today’s justice.”

Posted in ,