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Man arrested for Las Cruces murder has lengthy criminal history


Booking photo for Joel Arciniega-Saenz
Booking photo for Joel Arciniega-Saenz
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The man arrested in connection to the murder of a man at a park in Las Cruces has a lengthy criminal history.

Joel Arciniega-Saenz is accused of killing a man Sunday night at Apodaca Park.

RELATED: Man accused in Apodaca Park murder

Arciniega-Saenz was arrested in 2017 in connection to a separate murder.

CBS4 spoke with the sister of Benjamin Montoya, the man who was killed in that case four years ago.

Krystal Montoya said waking up and seeing Arciniega-Saenz's face on her phone is another delay in finding closure.

"I cry every day still and, on his birthday, and the day he died," Krystal Montoya said.

The 25-year-old was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder for killing a man in Las Cruces.

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Arciniega-Saenz was also arrested in May after caught on surveillance video throwing rocks at businesses in the Mesquite Historic District in Las Cruces.

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"At first I read it and I was like 'Oh god there is another one'," Montoya said. "When the name was said I was like 'That name sounds very familiar'".

Monday morning Montoya said her stomach turned upside down as she read the news of a man being killed in her community by the same person who was accused of shooting and killing her 21-year-old brother four years ago.

"I just got angry. I stared at my phone and at the floor and got angry," Montoya said.

Though Arciniega-Saenz is behind bars, he was set free in 2017. The charges were dismissed after the key witness in the case was found with a gun that was the same caliber of bullet that killed Montoya.

"I prayed he wouldn’t do it again and ruin someone else’s family," Montoya said.

"I just was very angry because they let a monster out," Montoya said.

Montoya said to this day it's hard to know what to believe happened four years ago.

"Since 2017 I can’t. I find myself getting angry for nothing and I feel like because I don’t have my brother and because I don’t know who did it," Montoya said.

But what she does know is how much pain losing her brother has cost her.

"Those ' Hey sisters what’re you doing? Come pick me up calls. Those I miss'," Montoya said.

She hopes the family of the man killed on Father's Day will be able to find closure, something she struggles with to this day.

"I don’t want this guy to be released again and go do something stupid again and go hurt another family again," Montoya said. "No matter how much I hurt from my brother, I can say that I hurt for this person‘s family. He needs to be put away period."

According to court records Arciniega-Saenz is being held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder at the Doña Ana County Detention Facility.

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