November 2 – Extended members of a tight-knit family in northern New Mexico wept in the courtroom on Tuesday as the trial of a Tesuque man accused of killing his brother began.
Patricio Griego, 68, shot and killed his older brother Jimmy Griego, 75, at their mother’s home in Tesuque in February 2020 after they argued over who would inherit his home, prosecutor JoHanna Cox told jurors .
“It’s not that complicated,” Cox said in his opening statement. “The defendant woke up hating his brother and before 9 a.m. he had shot Jimmy five times.”
Patricio Griego shot his brother twice in the front of the body and three more in the back while he was lying face down, Cox said.
“Then he left the house, as if nothing had happened,” she says.
Griego’s public defender Sydney West told jurors the scene was more complicated than that.
“This case is about the fear” that grew in Patricio Griego’s mind over the years, months and days leading up to the shooting, West said.
There was a long-standing rift between the brothers, West added.
“Jimmy viewed Patricio as an inferior individual,” West said, claiming he had bullied and harassed him throughout their lives.
Once, West said, Jimmy Griego and his son-in-law attacked his brother with a bat. At other times, he refused to speak to his brother or acknowledge his presence.
The day before their fateful meeting – while Patricio Griego was on the patio of the house he shared with their 97-year-old mother – Jimmy Griego had driven by and pointed a gun at his brother, West said.
“That was the setup of this tragedy,” West said.
The men’s sisters, Maria Ortiz and Ramona Hilderbrandt, testified that the family was close, with most living on the same Tesuque property as their mother, Cecilia Griego.
Jimmy Griego and his wife Emily lived about 500 yards away, and Ramona Hilderbrandt and her husband lived next door.
Patricio Griego was their mother’s primary caretaker, living with her and cooking most of her meals, the sisters testified.
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They also testified that their brothers sometimes argued, with Jimmy Griego treating family members silently when angry.
Both said they had never heard of the alleged bat attack or witnessed any violence between their brothers.
“No way, ever,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz – the only sibling not living on the property – said the family expected Patricio to inherit his mother’s house. It was in his will.
Ortiz said she slept at her mother’s house the night before and in the morning everything seemed normal initially.
Patricio Griego got up early, removed the previous night’s ashes from the wood stove and started a new fire as he always did, she said.
He even made breakfast.
But before she left, she said she noticed he was “acting weird”, pacing and bashing Jimmy.
“He looked really weird and he looked evil,” she said. “His eyes were really bad.”
After leaving for work, Ortiz said he texted Hilderbrandt.
“I said ‘Something is wrong. He’s just not himself,'” Ortiz testified, referring to Patricio.
Hilderbrandt – who described his brothers’ relationship as love/hate – said his sister texted him: their brother “looked like he was on some kind of drug” and “looked like the devil ”.
Hilderbrandt said she called Jimmy Griego and asked him to check on their mother.
In his opening statement, West told jurors that Jimmy Griego stormed into the house “angry, screaming and screaming.”
“Patricio was upstairs in this room and that’s when fear gripped him. His brother was going to get rid of him. That’s what he completely believed. So he took his gun… and he went down the stairs. And it was heated, and he was scared and he thought his brother was going to kill him and get rid of him and he shot twice,” West said. “That’s what he remembers.
“The state would have you believe this was a deliberate murder,” West added. “But deliberate killing requires very specific things in terms of the law. Someone has to actually decide to do it and weigh the pros and cons of doing it. Obviously, this isn’t some kind of planned premeditated murder; it was something that happened in the heat of passion and fear.”
Reportedly, Patricio Griego got into his car after the shooting and drove off. The police arrested him the next day.
Hildebrandt testified that her mother called her that morning and asked her to come quickly, saying only that something bad had happened.
While driving, Hildebrandt testified, she called Jimmy Griego’s wife, Emily Griego, and asked her to go find out what was going on.
When she entered the house, Emily Griego testified, she found her husband face down on the floor.
“I screamed and I stepped over him and touched him,” she said. “I was praying to the Blessed Mother that everything was fine but he didn’t move.”
Emily Griego then called 911.
The state released a recording of the call, during which Emily Griego could be heard telling the dispatcher that she thought her husband’s brother had hurt her “because his brother was drunk.”
In cross-examination, Emily Griego testified that she did not recall telling West in a pretrial interview that the brothers did not get along.
She testified that Jimmy Griego sometimes said that Patricio Griego was “tonto” – stupid – and that Patricio Griego sometimes “grunted” about her husband.
Driving home in response to her mother’s distressed call, Hilderbrandt testified on Tuesday, she passed her brother on the road but he didn’t stop or give any indication that anything was wrong. not.
When she arrived at the scene, Hilderbrandt said, her mother was standing in the doorway in shock. Her sister-in-law was on the phone and her brother was lying face down in the living room.
When she lifted Jimmy’s sweatshirt, she said, she saw a bullet hole in his back.
“I went downstairs to see if he was breathing…and there was nothing,” she tearfully testified.
Under the direction of a 911 dispatcher, she and Emily Griego turned Jimmy on his back, Hilderbrandt testified. His face was covered in blood.
While performing chest compressions on her brother, Hilderbrandt testified that she could hear his ribs cracking as she tried to save his life. But it was too late.
When the dispatcher asked her who did this, she said, “I told him it was my brother, Pat.
Patricio Griego’s trial is due to continue until Friday.
. Opening trial of a man Tesuque accused of having killed his brother