A New Mexico man has a penchant for killing his victims in sets of two, authorities in the Land of Enchantment allege.
John Paul Ballejos, 31, was arrested in early September 2022 for the alleged murder of Daniel Humphrey, 31, and Humphrey’s aunt, Sonia Tenorio, 46, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.
He was charged with two additional – but substantially earlier – murders over the weekend, recently-filed court records show.
The first two victims had been shot and killed amid a dispute about a bullet being fired through the floor of one apartment unit and the ceiling of the unit below, and ensuing eviction proceedings, police said at the time.
Ballejos is alleged to have fired a shot into Humphrey’s apartment, and their shared landlord wanted him out, according to the APD. During the turmoil, Cynthia Humphrey, the male victim’s sister, also reported that Ballejos was texting and harassing her, police said.
On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, a hooded assailant shot Daniel Humphrey twice in the head as he tried to enter his front door, surveillance footage showed. Detectives later found Tenorio inside her nephew’s apartment with bullet wounds to her face and head. Cynthia Humphrey’s bedroom door had been kicked down, but she managed to escape the violence because she was not home then.
“Witnesses identified the assailant shown in the surveillance video as John Paul Ballejos,” the APD wrote in a press release.
The circumstances of his arrest, the next afternoon, had a certain air of the macabre – due to another pair of deaths.
Police noted that Ballejos was found “in a Barelas [neighborhood] home that was the site of a separate double homicide in May.”
Late on May 31, 2022, Hesiquio “JR” Marcos Cordova, 45, and his longtime girlfriend, Virginia M. Serna, 46, were shot. Cordova was declared dead during the early morning hours the next day. Serna was determined to have died the same night she was shot.
In an interview with police, Serna’s son said that his mother and stepfather watched his 2-year-old daughter when six or seven shots took their lives. He told police the two lifelong friends and lovers “didn’t have any problems with anyone except for [Cordova’s] nephew,” Ballejos, a criminal complaint obtained by Law&Crime says.
According to the victim’s son, he “wasn’t sure” what the underlying problem between the couple and Ballejos was, but he said he “had made threats in the past to shoot them.” The grieving son recalled his mother, Serna, telling him that she bought a gun specifically to protect herself from Ballejos, relayed an alleged fight between him and Cordova, and said his mother expressed a fear that Cordova’s nephew was intent on doing them harm.
“[The son] said his mother and stepfather had filed a few police reports concerning their issues with [Ballejos], and there was a restraining order placed against him,” the complaint filed last week in a Bernalillo County court says.
At the time she died, Serna had filed four reports that Ballejos had violated the restraining order issued against him.
Last month, investigators filed a request for a direct collection and comparison of the cartridge casings found at the scenes of the May 2022 and September 2022 murders, the complaint says.
Meanwhile, a casing from an unrelated shooting incident – in December 2021 – was compared with, and linked to, casings from both sets of murders, Albuquerque police claim.
But the witness allegations against Ballejos were made to the police immediately. The defendant’s family quickly blamed him for the earlier killings, but the police couldn’t make the case.
Months later, Ballejos would allegedly kill a man and a woman once again.
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John Paul Ballejos allegedly murdered 4 people – 2 at a time
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