Two Indicted by Federal Grand Jury on Murder Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 10, 2009|
John E. Murphy, Acting United States Attorney, announced that a federal grand jury in El Paso today, returned a four-count indictment charging 29-year-old Thelton Andres Riley, Jr. and 29-year-old Leesa Trujillo, in connection with the death of her 7-month-old child on August 10, 2009, on Fort Bliss.
Riley and Trujillo are charged with one count of felony murder, one count of second degree murder and two counts of injury to a child.
Court documents allege that the defendants while living on the Laguna Indian Reservation in New Mexico beginning in June 2009, engaged in a pattern of child abuse resulting in broken bones, namely the upper right arm, both legs and several ribs. The defendants, along with Trujillo’s child, traveled to Fort Bliss on August 8, 2009, so that Riley could receive medical treatment at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The indictment further alleges that the defendants, knowing that medical treatment was necessary for the infant and that medical treatment was readily available, never sought medical attention for the infant. Instead, they gave the child opiates to keep the child quiet.
Both defendants remain in federal custody following their arrests last month. Upon conviction, each defendant faces up to life in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorney J. Brandy Gardes.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.