Attorneys for boy accused of killing his family warn against ‘rush to judgment’

Posted at: 01/25/2013 12:39 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 1:12 PM
By: KOB.com staff

Photo: Nehemiah Griego
Photo: Nehemiah Griego

The attorneys for a boy accused of killing five members of his family are speaking out about what they see as problems with the investigation into the case.

Nehemiah Griego, 15, is accused of killing his mother, father and three young siblings.

He is represented by public defenders Jeff Buckels and Lee Hood, who issued this statement:

"Nehemiah Griego is represented by the Public Defender Department of the State of New Mexico.

The members of the Department join the Albuquerque community in extending their condolences to the Griego family, their friends and their church, as we all struggle with this tragedy.

There is danger of a rush to judgment. Day by day this week, the Sheriff’s Department has been speaking of a “massive” and “on-going” investigation, while parceling out very limited bits of the most damaging supposed “facts.”

This has led directly to a multitude of sensational headlines that threaten to finish Nehemiah’s case in the public mind before it has fairly begun.

But spokesmen for law enforcement are not only presenting selected, inflammatory fragments of “information.”

They are also publicizing opinions concerning motive, judgments that the case is “beyond human reasoning or understanding,” and a theory that Nehemiah planned horrific acts of violence at “Walmart.”

This is repeated and repeated even though Nehemiah appears to have had every chance to carry out such a “plan” but did not.

These are early days. Much in-depth work needs to be done before anyone can speak meaningfully about Nehemiah’s mental state, motives or “plans.”

This work must include the completion of the “massive and on-going” police investigation, the discovery of the entirety of that investigation to the defense, and a thorough and independent defense investigation.

The defense will surely engage in extensive consultations with experts in the areas of mental health and the effects of violent video games on vulnerable boys.

None of this work has been completed and nothing will be done in a day.

It is far too soon to know the meaning of this tragedy, and far too soon to judge.

This is the time for diligent inquiry and calm reflection.

It is a very good time for restraint in public statements."

Jeff Buckels and Lee Hood, New Mexico Public Defender Department