Albuquerque man advocates no competitors for double murder 2019 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend and mother at their Nob Hill home will spend the next 43 years in jail on the crime. Jesus Cartagena, 22, changed his pleading Wednesday in a Bernalillo County courtroom to not contest several charges related to the June 2019 murder of Shanta and Laura Hanish.

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Cartagena, who initially pleaded not guilty in the case, pleaded for no objection to two cases of first degree murder, serious break-in and manipulation of evidence. As part of the settlement agreement, Cartagena agreed to a 50-year prison sentence with five years probation. Cartagena also counts for the prison term he has served since his arrest on June 22, 2019, bringing his total sentence to around 43 years.

Relatives of Shanta and Laura Hanish filled the virtual courtroom on Wednesday with some remarks about the difficulty of understanding what motivated Cartagena to kill. Both Laura Hanish and Shanta Hanish were known for their jobs and activities in the Albuquerque community. Laura worked in the Public Defender law firms as a social worker and Shanta was a lifeguard in the Highland Pool. Both attended the First Congregational United Church of Christ and volunteered for an organization called the Family Promise.

“The presence of Laura and Shanta is missed not only by us, but by every community they have been involved in,” said Robin Hanish, Laura’s sister and Shanta’s aunt. “Laura and Shanta touched the lives of everyone in these communities, as demonstrated by the 700+ attendees at their memorial service.”

Investigators say Cartagena murdered Laura and Shanta shortly after he and Shanta split up. During Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors outline how Cartagena broke into their Nob Hill home while they were both at work. Prosecutors say Cartagena waited for the family to come home and only stabbed Laura hours before Shanta was murdered. Prosecutors say Cartegana took Shanta’s car, then drove to Mexico before voluntarily going back across the border. Prosecutors said in court that Cartagena surrendered to El Paso, Texas police on Wednesday and ordered officers to shoot him, saying he “hurt someone really badly”.

Cartagena apologized to the Hanish family during the hearing and read from a prepared written statement. The now 22-year-old said it was sometimes “impossible to adequately express the regrets and remorse” of his actions, but guaranteed that he “will redeem himself”.

“There are points that I need to emphasize, this is my fault and there are no excuses for my actions.” said Cartagena. “I cannot believe the agony and grief I have inflicted on your family. I apologize from the bottom of my heart to you, the Hanish people. After all, I guarantee everyone that I will redeem myself. “

Cartagena attorney Tom Clark issued a statement for the settlement agreement on Wednesday, saying the negotiated solution was necessary to avoid the crime’s dramatic events being told in a lengthy process. Clark also addresses the question of why Cartagena would kill people who trusted him.

“As for why, I don’t think that will ever be answered, I think it can best be attributed to this question of human frailty. Our young customer is very, very, very young, he and Shanta have been together since they were in high school, ”said Clark. “There was no hatred here, no malice, I don’t think anyone will ever be able to know why this happened, or what crossed my clients’ minds, or what the thought process went through, why this had to happen – that was not the case.”

In April 2020, Cartagena was sent to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas for treatment. Online court records indicate that Cartagena was found fit to stand trial in September 2020. A trial was originally supposed to take place in August 2021, but has since been canceled with the change in the plea.

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