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The Denver Gazette

Alamosa man pleads guilty to 5 murders from 2020

By Carol McKinley carol.mckinley@gazette.com,

2024-02-27
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An Alamosa man pleaded guilty on Monday to the murder and dismemberment of five people in a heinous crime which rocked the San Luis Valley during the first summer and fall of COVID.

Prosecutors said that Adre Baroz, 29 — whose nickname was "Psycho" — committed the murders over a period of two months from August 25 to Nov. 13, 2020. Korina Arroyo, 31, of Monte Vista, Selena Esquibel, 19, of Alamosa, 24-year-old Xavier Zeven Garcia of Saguache, Myron Martinez, 31, of Del Norte and 34-year-old Shayla Hammel of Alamosa, were brutally killed and dumped on properties near the New Mexico border.

Baroz is accused of burning their bodies in a pit on remote land in Los Sauses, a tiny community south of Alamosa. Prosecutors said that he burned them for so long, it was difficult to identify their remains. Baroz was arrested in New Mexico in November 2020 following the discovery of the skeletal remains on two properties near Los Sauces.

Former Alamosa Police Chief Ken Anderson, who is now a Division Commander with the Alamosa County Sheriff's Office, led the investigation.

"This case had a huge impact not just on the city of Alamosa, but on the San Luis Valley. (That) we're getting justice brings confidence back to every law enforcement official," he told The Denver Gazette Monday. "It's about damn time."

Court proceedings took three-and-a-half years to get to this point. The Alamosa Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, a forensic anthropologist and forensic odonatologists compiled upwards of 50,000 documents in the investigation, according to prosecutors.

At one point, Baroz plead not guilty by reason of insanity — but he withdrew that plea.

In addition to the five murders, Baroz also pleaded guilty to five counts of tampering with a deceased human body, two assault charges and one count of kidnapping, making his tally a total of 13 charges.

Two of his co-defendants, his brother, Jullius, 33, and Francisco Ramirez, 41, also pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the murders. They followed Baroz in front of 12th Judicial District Judge Michael Gonzales in a Monday afternoon proceeding which took less than two hours.

Julius Baroz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Martinez' murder. It carries a prison sentence of 16 to 25 years, with 5 years mandatory parole.

Ramirez pleaded guilty to three counts of tampering with deceased human bodies. Gonzales advised Ramirez that he will serve eight years in prison.

During the proceeding, each man answered questions from Gonzales about whether they understood the charges against them and each acknowledged that he did.

Fred Johnson, chief trial deputy district attorney with the DA’s office in the 20th Judicial District was assigned as special prosecutor to the case.

Sentencing for Adre and Julius Baroz is May 3 in the Alamosa County Courthouse. Victims' families will be able to make victim impact statements to the judge at that time.

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