Muffler shop owner accused of tampering with evidence in December 30 murder

Muffler shop owner accused of tampering with evidence in December 30 murder

Feb. 28—Santa Fe police this week filed charges against a third person in the Dec. 30 death of James Tolle, a 55-year-old Texas resident who was visiting Santa Fe at the time of his death.

Dave Gallegos, 58, who owned Dave’s Muffler Shop on Rufina Street, was charged Monday with tampering with evidence, conspiracy to tamper with evidence and harboring or aiding a felon, according to court records.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Gallegos is accused of withholding footage from the store’s surveillance cameras when police asked to review the video as they were investigating the shooting.

Mark Delgado Jr., 29, is accused of killing Towle just after midnight on Dec. 30 as Towle walked past a muffler shop on Rufina Street near Siler Road. Delgado, charged Feb. 17 with first-degree murder, has not been arrested. His arrest warrant affidavit does not indicate that police have determined a motive for the shooting.

Like Gallegos, Delgado’s cousin — 30-year-old Jose Delgado, who lives in an apartment above Dave’s Muffler Shop — has been charged with obstructing the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation into the shooting. Jose Delgado is suspected of deleting footage from his personal video surveillance system, an affidavit says. He faces the same charges as Gallegos, and he communicated with Gallegos via text during the police department’s initial response and investigation, according to the affidavit.

“I only showed them one camera .not the other .and I told them I didn’t know who the car was,” Gallegos told Jose Delgado in a text message, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.

“I made them think it was someone else,” she later texted.

A warrant for Gallegos’ arrest was filed Monday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court. However, an unopposed motion to quash the warrant was filed the next day.

A criminal summons had not been filed for Gallegos and no court proceedings had been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon, according to online court records.

An attorney for Gallegos wrote in the motion that Gallegos’ text exchange with Jose Delgado was “out of context” in the affidavit because certain information was omitted from the document.

Gallegos was in Albuquerque at the time of the shooting and returned to Santa Fe in the early hours of Dec. 30 at the request of police, the motion states. He had two cameras inside and outside each home, and all four monitors were made fully available to investigators, the attorney wrote in the motion.

“Law enforcement viewed four screens and law enforcement chose which videos to record/view/save,” the motion states. “The interior camera, visible to law enforcement, shows only a private residence. … This omitted material information puts into context the text message to law enforcement showing only a video.”

The motion states that Gallegos was asked to meet with police at his store several days later, when they demanded his cellphone. When he refused to turn it over, the motion said, investigators threatened to shut down his business until they got a warrant for the phone.

Gallegos claims he refused to provide police with his cellphone because he uses it for his business.

“Gallegos was fully cooperative with law enforcement until they began threatening him,” the motion said.

Police eventually confiscated Gallegos’ phone and returned it on Jan. 6, after his attorney sent an email to the department claiming it, the motion states.

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