Police on Wednesday night arrested the fourth and final man indicted on murder charges stemming from the 1998 shooting death of Mitchell Hanrahan in his South Meadows Road apartment.
Christopher Gilbert Garcia, 33, was arrested without incident by U.S. Marshals in Rio Rancho and is now being held in the Santa Fe County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
He and three other men — Frankie King, 31; Marcos Montoya, 31; and Andrew Roessler, 32 — were indicted by a Santa Fe grand jury last week on a count each of first degree murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit murder.
King and Montoya were already in custody in a Santa Rosa prison on unrelated charges when last week’s indictments were returned. Roessler was arrested in Santa Fe without incident on Sept. 3.
Here is a story from last week when the indictment’s were first returned: Four face charges in 1998 killing of state employee
Here is a timeline of events I compiled from The New Mexican’s archives related to the 12-year-old murder investigation:
March 30, 1998: Mitchell Hanrahan, 44, is shot and killed in his apartment off South Meadows Road in Santa Fe. There are no signs of forced entry or burglary in the home. Hanrahan was an eight-year employee of the state Environment Department’s Solid Waste Bureau.
April 2, 1998: Hanrahan’s body is discovered in his apartment when his estranged wife, Gloria Chavez Hanrahan, and a Santa Fe police officer make a welfare check on him after the woman told police she hadn’t heard from him for several days. The couple had filed for divorce in November 1997.
April 3, 1998: Santa Fe police question Marcos Montoya, 19, and Christopher Garcia, 21. Police stop short of calling them suspects, but then-Capt. David Segura tells The New Mexican, “We’re pretty sure these two know what happened.”
April 6, 1998: Police back off pursuit of Garcia and Montoya as suspects in Hanrahan’s death, saying the two had been involved in a fight the day Hanrahan’s body was found, and blood linking them to the area was from the fight, not the murder.
May 10, 2000: Santa Fe police Lt. Leroy Lucero tells The New Mexican, “We have some further leads in the case. I’m reasonably optimistic about this one.”
March 30, 2000: On the two-year anniversary of Hanrahan’s death, his sister returns to Santa Fe to put up posters around town and talk with police and Crime Stoppers about where the case stands. She tells The New Mexican, “The police say that nothing’s really happening in the case.” Santa Fe police Detective Sgt. Gary Johnson says, “It’s still an active case, but it’s a real frustrating case.”
Nov. 22, 2002: A man tells police that Garcia and Montoya admitted to killing Hanrahan, adding they had robbed him and taken a couple hundred dollars. According to the informant’s testimony, “Montoya stated that during the attack, the male (Hanrahan) would not stop yelling, so he shot him.”
Dec. 10, 2002: Police take a floor mat and pieces of fabric from a 1985 Ford Bronco to test for blood/DNA samples they hope will lead to an arrest. Toni Scofield, Hanrahan’s sister from out of state, tells The New Mexican of the latest developments, saying, “I’m glad to hear that. We’ve been waiting a long time for this — for some closure. It’s good to hear they are still working the case.”
September 2006: The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation based in Modesto, Calif., contacts SFPD to offer $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Capt. Gary Johnson says, “We’re getting close. We have identified credible suspects in the case.”
June 2008: Garcia is arrested and charged with kidnapping and an open count of murder. Information comes to light suggesting that Hanrahan’s death may have been a murder-for-hire plot, possibly initiated by his estranged wife. SFPD detectives Robert Vasquez and Tony Trujillo say Gloria Chavez Hanrahan, Garcia, Montoya and two other men — Frankie King and Andrew Roessler — are suspects. A warrant filed for Garcia’s arrest details the events of Hanrahan’s death, including allegations that Montoya pulled the trigger while the other three men were involved in the plot and carrying out the shooting. Information also comes to light that Hanrahan was killed the day before a court hearing that could have finalized his divorce, which could have affected life insurance payments Gloria Chavez Hanrahan received after his death. Española police also identify Gloria Chavez Hanrahan as a suspect in the shooting death of her second husband, Arturo Placido Rodriguez, 39, who was found dead in a restaurant she owned on N.M. 30.
July 9, 2008: Garcia, still the only one charged in the Hanrahan case, is released on $70,000 property bond. “The case needs to be fully developed, and the reason anyone agreed to this (release) I can’t publicly discuss without jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation,” then-District Attorney Henry Valdez tells The New Mexican. That case never developed into additional charges or a grand jury indictment for Garcia or any of the other suspects.
Sept. 2, 2010: A Santa Fe grand jury returns indictments on King, Garcia, Montoya and Roessler, charging all four men with first-degree murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.