March 29, 2024
< Return To News Articles

District Attorney Michael R. Renteria announced that Grant County resident Armando Zamora, age 38, has been sentenced to 29 years for second degree murder, in the death of his wife, Erica Zamora. Ms. Zamora was the subject of an intensive search by her family and law enforcement after she was last seen at her home in Arenas Valley on September 26, 2023. On October 1, 2023, New Mexico State Police issued a missing/endangered person advisory, asking the public for assistance in determining her whereabouts. Her body was found by State Police, hidden under brush in a wood-cutting area on North Star Mesa, near Mimbres.

Initially, Zamora claimed he had dropped his wife off at her house after cutting wood and, since they were living in separate residences, he had not seen her and did not know where she was. Zamora was on probation at the time, so State Police were able to use GPS tracking information from his ankle bracelet to determine that he had been at the location where the body was found, but he had not gone to Ms. Zamora’s house afterward. When confronted with this information, Zamora confessed that while he and his wife were on the wood-cutting trip, they got into an argument and a physical altercation, and he killed her with an axe.

As part of a plea agreement, Zamora pled guilty to Second Degree Murder and two counts of Tampering With Evidence. At the sentencing hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Tomas Medina argued that the basic statutory sentence for murder should be increased by one-third because of aggravating circumstances. District Court Judge Tom Stewart agreed, and increased the sentence on the murder charge from 15 years to 20 years. Because Zamora had a prior felony conviction, the court granted the State’s request for a finding that he was an habitual offender, and Zamora received an additional three years.

District Attorney Renteria said “this was a classic case of second-degree murder, where the defendant killed in the heat of passion. We were able to achieve a sentence of 29 years, somewhat close to the sentence available for first degree murder, which allows eligibility for parole after 30 years. It was a very good legal outcome, but my thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Zamora’s family. They have suffered a tragic loss which no sentence can overcome.”

Sixth Judicial District Attorney's Office of New Mexico

Sixth Judicial District Attorney's Office of New Mexico © 2024 All Rights Reserved
 | Designed by SpyderWebDev