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DONA ANA COUNTY, NM – An illegal immigrant has been charged with First Degree Murder by Las Cruces authorities after he allegedly decapitated a New Mexico man and then bizarrely “played soccer” with the victim’s head, according to reports.
Joel Arciniega-Saenz, 25 – currently with an ICE detainer on him since he is illegally in the United States – was indicted by a Grand Jury this week for the alleged murder of James Garcia, 51, in Apodaca Park on the day after Father’s Day. The defendant is currently being held without bond in the Doña Ana County Detention Center, reports say.
Garcia’s body had been discovered by police approximately 10 yards from his head; the body itself had been gruesomely mutilated with multiple stab wounds and the removal of the middle finger on its right hand, according to officials.
The suspect was quickly tracked down – and reportedly found with “significant” blood stains on his clothes and a bloody knife nearby – and placed under arrest. When he was taken into custody, Arciniega-Saenz reportedly confessed to the slaying, which he claimed was in retaliation for Garcia allegedly raping his wife and stealing all of the couple’s belongings four years ago.
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Arciniega-Saenz told police that he confronted Garcia in Apodaca Park, wrestled a switchblade knife away from him, and then stabbed him to death. Then the defendant allegedly said that he cut off Garcia’s head and “played soccer” with it by kicking it towards 14 separate vehicles.
Previously, Arciniega-Saenz had previously been charged with the shooting death of 21-year-old Benjamin Isaac Montoya in 2017, but eventually had the charges dismissed as the murder weapon was never found. He was also arrested last month for allegedly throwing rocks at businesses in the Mesquite Historic District of Las Cruces.
ICE is currently requesting that local authorities do not release Arciniega-Saenz from jail until they can assume custody, with a spokesperson saying that “under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable noncitizens.”
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