New Mexico SB 247 Testimony–Senate Judiciary Committee

Testimony from our Legislative Coordinator

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee,

Thank you for allowing me to submit testimony regarding Senate Bill 247, which would deny justice and hurt victims.[1] 

Some juveniles, like Clovis Carver Library mass shooter Nathaniel Jouett, commit heinous crimes with a complete understanding of the results and with the desire to bring about those results. Another example is Ralph Cruz, 16, from Arizona. He attempted to carjack Lucila Bojorquez and her six and seven-year-old children at gunpoint. When Lucila did not comply, he shot and killed her and drove off with her car. The children were still inside. Cruz later murdered them by shooting them in their heads.[2]

Justice demands sentences that are proportionate to the crimes. 15 years is nowhere near proportionate to highly aggravated crimes like the Clovis Library massacre, which left two women dead and four others injured. Setting parole eligibility after 15 years would allow Jouett to serve only 2.5 years per victim shot. SB 247 greatly minimizes the severity of juvenile murders by stating that they only warrant 15 years. It also devalues the worth of what the murderers took from their victims—their lives. 

Parole hearings are traumatic for victims and force them to relive the crimes. Conditions suffered as a result of the crimes, such as PTSD, flare up and victims suffer flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms. Under the first version of SB 247, a 17-year-old murderer who lives to be 75 would be entitled to 25 parole hearings. With the amendment, that murderer would get 22 parole hearings. SB 247 would trap victims in a never-ending cycle of trauma. Even if they prevent parole this time, they’ll have to do it all over again after two years and then two years after that and two years after that. 

NOVJM requests that you vote NO on SB 247.  

[1] Nearly 2,200 people have signed our petition to block SB 247.


Testimony from a New Mexico Victim  

John Gamble[1] was convicted of murdering my son Joseph and sentenced to 60 years in prison. NO where on this Court Document does it say 15 years before parole. Gamble murdered Joseph at 16. At 16 people know right from wrong. Gamble was found competent to stand trial and is responsible for his crimes.

This was premeditated murder. One week beforehand, Joseph, 15, told me he was scared of Gamble and his brother. They were telling people they would grab Joseph, beat him, and light him on fire. I looked Joseph in the eyes and told him I would protect him.

Gamble lured Joseph, bought gas, took Joseph to a remote location, beat him with his hands, and then tried to shoot Joseph. The rifle misfired so he beat Joseph with the rifle stock until it broke off. Gamble lit Joseph’s body on fire. Gamble bragged about this to his friends. He confessed that he murdered Joseph because he was mad that Joseph lied to him. What will happen when Gamble is in the real world and gets “mad”?? Are you willing to have this murderer living next to you, your children, or grandchildren?

I cannot sleep at night or concentrate enough to finish a degree. I rarely go out at night. I failed Joseph by not protecting him.  I can’t relive this after 15 years and every two years afterward. SB 247 is devastating to me and my family. Gamble was a juvenile at the time he committed murder, not a child or kid. For the sake of the victims, please oppose this Bill. If I can save other parents from the agony and despair I endure daily, I will try my best. Do not fail our children by exposing them to criminals who prey on the vulnerable.