Adre Baroz pleads guilty to all charges in Los Sauces murder cases

Adre Baroz

Julius Baroz and Francisco Ramirez plead guilty to lesser charges

ALAMOSA — After three and a half years of court proceedings, Adre Baroz, 29, has pleaded guilty to all charges in connection with the murders and dismemberment of five people whose remains were found in two burn pits in Los Sauces in late November of 2020.

Over a period of several months, as forensic pathologists examined the remains, the victims were identified as Korina Arroyo, Selena Esquibel, Xavier Zeven Garcia, Myron Martinez and Shayla Hammel.  As court documents in each case obtained by the Valley Courier revealed, those five individuals were murdered between Aug. 25, 2020, to Nov. 13, 2020.

Baroz pleaded guilty to five counts of murder in the first degree, a class 1 felony, with each count carrying a sentence of life in prison with no hope of parole; five counts of tampering with remains of a deceased human body, a class 3 felony, which will carry a sentence of 4-12 years for each count; one count of assault  in the first degree with serious bodily injury, a class 3 felony, which will carry a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 32 years in prison; second degree kidnapping, a class 3 felony, which will carry a sentence of 10-32 years; and second degree assault, a class 4 felony, which has a sentencing range of 5-16 years.

For the “lesser” felony charges, Baroz will serve anywhere from 45 to 140 years in prison. However, in the resolution reached between Baroz’s defense counsel, David Lipka, and special prosecutor, Fred Johnson assigned from the Boulder District Attorney’s Office, the life sentences will be served consecutively, totaling 200 years sentencing Baroz to spending the rest of his life in prison.

Baroz went through the court proceedings with, initially, three co-defendants: his brother, Julius Baroz, 33, Franciso Ramirez, 41, and C.J. Dominguez, 31.

Dominguez reached an agreement with prosecutors in December of 2022 when he entered a guilty plea of tampering with a deceased human body, which severed him from the case.

However, Julius Baroz and Ramirez remained as co-defendants until Monday’s resolution with the prosecution.

Julius Baroz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree of Myron Martinez, which will carry a prison sentence of 16-25 years with 5 years mandatory parole.

Ramirez pleaded guilty to three counts of tampering with deceased human bodies, where he will be sentenced to eight years in the Department of Corrections for each sentence to be served consecutively.  

All resolutions reached on Monday were entered after Adre Baroz’s plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (NRGI) was withdrawn. On April 29, 2022, Baroz had entered the NRGI plea, which began a protracted period of 22 months where two psychological evaluations — the second one requested by the defense – led to a series of continuance after continuance due to delays in getting the evaluations completed.

Finally, several months ago, Judge Gonzales stated that “enough was enough” and the case needed to proceed in a timely manner. In fact, today’s proceeding was slated as a hearing, based on the assumption that the results of the second evaluation had been completed and in possession of both defense and the prosecution.

When Judge Gonzales entered the courtroom, counsel requested to meet in chambers and Gonzales said, “the case was headed in a different direction.”

As Gonzales read each plea deal, he asked Johnson if the victims — in this case, members of the families of the five people Baroz murdered — had any objections to the agreements that had been reached. Although there was mention of some opposition to Julius Baroz pleading guilty to conspiracy with other charges dismissed, Johnson said that, with the sentence enhancer that increased Julius Baroz’s sentence, the family was satisfied.

This case originally garnered national attention when, in late November of 2020, the deceased remains of human beings were found in two separate burn pits in the small town of Los Sauces in Conejos County. At that time, Adre Baroz was identified as a suspect as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, along with local law enforcement from Conejos, Alamosa and Rio Grande Counties and agencies in New Mexico, began a manhunt.  

On Nov. 19, 2020, Baroz, who already had several outstanding warrants in Alamosa for failure to appear on a drug related charge, was taken into custody in Gallup, N.M.

Back in the Valley, investigators immediately began interviewing people associated with Baroz and soon built a case that led to his initial charge in the murder of Selena Esquibel.

Sentencing for Julius Baroz and Francisco Ramirez is scheduled for May 3, at which time victims — should they so choose — may address the court directly as well as individuals who may choose to speak on behalf of any of the defendants.

“These pleas represent a tremendous victory for justice in the Valley,” wrote District Attorney Anne Kelly in an email to the Valley Courier. “I am thrilled that we can deliver a result for the families of these victims that may help them move through their nightmare. I cannot express enough how appreciative our community is for the tireless and fearless work of our law enforcement team in achieving this result.”