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Santa Fe teen accused of shooting man through windshield

July 14, 2018

A Santa Fe teen is being held on suspicion of shooting a man Tuesday evening in a high-end neighborhood north of the city off Hyde Park Road.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, 18-year-old Dylan Josiah Herrera is accused of shooting Sam Leyba, 49, outside his mother’s home on South Summit Ridge.

Herrera fled after the shooting, the court document says, but officers later found him at a relative’s home in Española and booked him in the Santa Fe County jail early Wednesday on multiple felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The complaint, filed by a sheriff’s detective, says Herrera admitted to firing a handgun at Leyba’s car.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of the shooting around 5 p.m. Tuesday, finding Leyba with a gunshot wound in his chest area and left arm, a court document says. Both Leyba and a friend of his told deputies that Herrera had first fired shots while Leyba was escorting Herrera’s mother to her home.

The woman and two men had spent some time together at the Shidoni Gallery and Sculpture Gardens on Bishops Lodge Road that afternoon, the complaint says. Then Herrera’s mother asked Leyba to drive her home. According to the complaint, she had told the men she was afraid of her son because he had been abusive toward her.

Leyba offered to walk her to her door.

As Leyba and the woman were walking up her driveway, the document says, Herrera approached with a gun holstered on his hip and “exchanged a few words” with Leyba before firing a shot into the air and telling the men to leave.

Leyba told deputies he got back in his car and was trying to drive away when Herrera fired a shot through the windshield, hitting Leyba in his left lower arm and chest area.

Paramedics took Leyba to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for treatment, a deputy’s report says.

A woman who answered Leyba’s phone Thursday evening said he was out of the hospital and recovering.

Herrera’s mother, in an interview with The New Mexican, denied telling Leyba and his friend that she was afraid of her son. She insisted her son is not dangerous.

“He was just there to protect me,” the woman said. “He just wanted them to leave and they wouldn’t leave. I love my son. He’s a sweetheart. He’s a good kid.”

Online court records show no prior criminal charges against Herrera.

Still, prosecutors have asked a state District Court judge to order him held without bond until his trial, arguing he’s a danger to the public because he shot an unarmed man. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer is set to rule on that motion next week.

Leyba made headlines in 2013, when he pleaded guilty to crimes connecting him with two slayings a year earlier in the West Alameda Street area.

The first was the death of Ethaan Boyer, 34, an artist and youth mentor who police believe was killed while interrupting a burglary at his home on West Alameda in February 2012. Several weeks later and few blocks west, police found the body of 53-year-old David Martinez dumped near the Santa Fe River. A revolver was lying on his chest.

Police said Martinez had been living at Leyba’s home on Ephriam Street and that the gun on his body was the one used to kill Boyer. Later, police would close the Boyer case, saying evidence linked Martinez to the artist’s death.

Martinez’s brother, Felix Martinez, was accused of killing him amid a dispute at Leyba’s house. Felix Martinez told police he had shot his brother in self-defense but later pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Meanwhile, police investigating David Martinez’s slaying said they found property in Leyba’s house that belonged to Boyer’s wife. Leyba were tied to several other burglaries in Santa Fe as well, police said.

Leyba eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of stolen property and one count of tampering with evidence — for helping Felix Martinez dump his brother’s body.

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