Santa Fe, NM - Over two years ago, District Attorney Serna, in partnership with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, committed every effort to giving 13-year old Jeremiah Valencia a voice. Today, Jordan Nunez pleaded guilty to recklessly participating in the abhorrent abuse that ended Jeremiah’s short life and for tampering with Jeremiah’s body in a cowardly attempt to conceal the crime.
The Defendant faces 14-24 years in prison and prosecutors will urge the Court to order the maximum sentence served due to the serious violent nature of this offense. This was truly a concerted effort by several state agencies: specifically, with the support of the AG’s Office of Criminal Appeals division and psychological experts from The Forensic Panel, DA Serna and his team successfully argued against the defense that Nunez’s traumatic childhood and the control Thomas Ferguson exerted over the household, justified or excused Nunez’s culpability in the death of Jeremiah. To the contrary, the evidence clearly showed Nunez put his interests above the protection of young Jeremiah.
Working within the limitations and nuances of the existing child abuse laws, this conviction is a testament to the relentless effort of Detectives Earnest Alderete and Eric Eccles, crime scene technician Shari Vialpando, the forensic teams at OMI and DPS, Chief Deputy DA Jennifer Padgett-Macias, Deputy DA Mary Carmack-Altwies and most importantly to the bravery and resilience of Jeremiah’s sister.
"Our team worked tirelessly to ensure that Jordan Nunez is held accountable for his role in this horrific tragedy," said DA Serna.
There is never truly justice when a child dies under such horrific circumstances, and DA Serna and his team of prosecutors hope that Jeremiah’s sister, his family, and the community that mourned his death can begin healing knowing those responsible have been brought to justice. May Jeremiah rest in peace.