Nehemiah's attorney calls sheriff's, media's statements "inflammatory"

Posted at: 01/25/2013 4:15 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 10:20 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

While the community remembered the five family members Nehemiah Griego, 15, told detectives he murdered, he spent the day in his cell at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center. Regardless, his attorney says it's too soon for anyone to rush to judgement.

Two different pictures are circulating of Griego. One is an unemotional, stern-looking mug shot. The other is a clean-cut photo of the 15-year-old in a tuxedo.

The contrast between the pictures symbolizes the struggle between Griego's image his uncle, Eric Griego, is publicly trying to restore, as he did Wednesday night on national television, explaining how Griego was "very active in youth ministry, he was a very good athlete and wrestler."

"The fascination of the local and sadly many national medias is how much of a monster was this kid," he said.

But the detailed facts surrounding the murders of five family members Griego explained to investigators paint a different image.

"It's horrific, what other word do you use, this is certainly the first time I've been into a crime scene with this much destruction in one home," Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said in a news conference Tuesday.

Public defender, Jeff Buckels, is representing Griego. He refused to speak on-camera with KOB Eyewitness News 4, but in a statement wrote, "There is a danger of a rush to judgement. 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.'"

Among those facts, according to investigators, is that Griego murdered his parents and three siblings because he was annoyed with his mother.

Buckels argued it is details like these that are the most "inflammatory."

"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," Buckels wrote.

In a written statement Thursday, in response to Eric Griego's interview on national television, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department wrote, "Sheriff Houston stands by the facts as presented in the investigation of this horrific case."

Beyond talking about the facts, Houston has declined any interviews with local or national media at this time.