UPDATE: Gallegos was sentenced on Wednesday, May 3 to an additional 16 years to run consecutive with the sentence he was already serving.
“Gallegos is serving a 13-year sentence for aggravated burglary, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence. The 2nd degree murder sentencing will add 16 years for a total of 29 years, followed by two years of parole,” said the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A 39-year-old man was convicted Thursday, April 20 of second-degree murder in the death of the owner of Landis Shoe Company, Oscar Amezquita.
Evidence and court testimony indicated that Lonnie Gallegos, 39, was reportedly in Amezquita’s Las Cruces shop at the time of the murder. On Saturday, May 9, 2020, Amezquita returned to his shop later in the day and found Gallegos burglarizing his shop. Amezquita was then shot, and evidence indicated that several rounds were fired inside the shop, according to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation of the incident revealed that Gallegos reportedly had armed himself with firearms that were stored in the shop. According to investigators, the firearms were found placed together and not in the original areas where Amezquita had stored them.
Neighbors then reportedly saw Gallegos and his dogs entering Amezquita’s vehicle and leaving the scene. The vehicle was later found by “pinging Amezquita’s phone that had been left in the vehicle, abandoned, covered with netting material and the license plate removed,” according to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Gallegos was held in the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility awaiting trial on a felony count of murder. The third trial on the charge was held Thursday, April 20 with a Las Cruces jury trial finding Gallegos guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement, the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office stated.
Gallegos sentencing will be ruled on a later date and faces “an additional 18 years (serious violent offense) to run concurrent to his current charges that he is now serving.”
The second trial held on May 17, 2022, was declared a mistrial on the charges of first-degree murder due to “juror misconduct,” according to Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office. During that trial, Gallegos was found guilty of aggravated burglary, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence and sentenced to 13 years.