NEW: Sheriff responds to Griego family statements about murders

Posted at: 01/24/2013 7:50 AM
Updated at: 01/24/2013 2:37 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston is responding to comments made by a Griego family member regarding the sheriff’s investigation of the murders of five members of the Griego family.

Eric Griego, brother of murder victim Greg Griego, went on national television Wednesday night criticize the sheriff’s investigation and defend his nephew, who is accused in the deaths.

Nehemiah Griego, 15, is suspected of killing Greg, his wife Sara and their three young children were murdered last Saturday.

Eric Griego appeared Wedesday night on the HLN cable news show "Dr. Drew On Call" hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. Griego told psychiatrist Dr. Pinsky, as well as an attorney and forensic psychologist on the panel, that he believed his nephew did murder his parents and three younger siblings on Saturday.

But Eric Griego said the Bernalillo County Sheriffs Department belief that Nehemiah Griego's motive was because he was angry at his mother is not true.

"He was upbeat. He was smiling. We have pictures. We were planning on celebrating birthdays together, his mother and my birthday at the same time, that's this Sunday that the tragedy happened," Griego said.

Houston issued this statement Thursday in response:

“In light of the recent tragedy that took the lives of five members of the Griego Family, Sheriff Dan Houston is understanding of the overwhelming grief of the Griego family.

This tragedy has shocked our community as well as our nation. Out of respect for the Griego family Sheriff Houston has refused several requests for interviews including CNN, Good Morning America, and Piers Morgan.

Eric Griego recently appeared on a nationally syndicated talk show, and as a result, the Sheriff has received new requests for interviews today in response to statements apparently made by Mr. Griego.

Sheriff Houston stands by the facts as presented in the investigation of this horrific case.

The Sheriff acknowledges that in the future it may be appropriate to discuss this matter but with pending funerals, this is not the time.”

According to what Nehemiah Griego told deputies, he intended to take guns to a local Wal-Mart and shooting people and eventually die in a shoot-out with police.

But in his appearance Wednesday on the show, Eric Griego disputed that, too. He said his nephew may have taken those ideas from video games like Grand Theft Auto.

"This poor, incredibly troubled 15-year-old is being essentially publically crucified and made out to be some demon, maybe because we can't accept the fact that this could happen anywhere," Griego said.

He also explained why his nephew had access to Greg Griego's guns at home.

"It's because my brother was gone and he really believed that Nehemiah, as the eldest there, needed to protect the family," he said.

But another point Griego made to the HLN panel was that blame should also go on Nehemiah Griego's 12-year-old girlfriend, whom he told deputies he sent a text message of his dead mother.

"I can tell you for sure from what we understand from detectives, the young lady was egging him on at every step of the way," Griego said.

But deputies said earlier this week they were still deciding whether charges would be filed against the girl.

Stay tuned to KOB Eyewitness News 4 on any updates in this case.