WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — A convicted teen killer was worried about his acne while he was on the run from police for a deadly shooting, according to social media evidence collected by detectives and obtained by the Problem Solvers.
“I got a lot of pimples. That’s what I’m mainly mad about,” then-17-year-old Jonathan Joseph Montoya said in a selfie video, recovered by police investigating a 2019 Wheat Ridge robbery and homicide.
Montoya was convicted in 2021 for shooting and killing a 23-year-old man during the robbery. Although Montoya was a juvenile when he fired the gun, he was charged as an adult and is now serving a 35-year prison sentence.
Another teen, Jalen Wilson, set up the victim to be robbed by telling the victim he planned to buy marijuana from him. Wilson was 16 at the time of the homicide.
“It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy brought on by kids that think guns are glamorous and just don’t think things through,” said Sheryl Berry, the chief deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.
“They look like babies. They look like babies when you see them in the courtroom,” she said.
What’s in the private messages on social media
The Problem Solvers filed an open records request for the social media evidence collected in the homicide case to better understand the behavior of teens who get guns and use them to commit violent crimes.
The evidence uncovered several photos of Montoya and his accomplices separately posing with weapons. Other evidence showed he had accessed social media posts or chats about drugs.
In the selfie video in which Montoya examined his pimples and expressed frustration with his acne, he also told the camera, “Very recently, I escaped a SWAT raid.”
As he pointed at the lens, he positioned his fingers into the shape of a gun. “Young felon on the run,” he said, explaining how he hid in a sewer system to avoid the police. At the time, he was also on the run from the Division of Youth Services.
A different social media video recovered by police and obtained by the Problem Solvers appears to show Montoya in that sewer area while he was hiding from police.
“I shot somebody not too long ago,” he continued. “Did all that sh-t in the course of a month. All l I’ve been doing is robbing people.”
Snapchat videos and pictures
Police also obtained evidence from the social media accounts of Montoya’s accomplice, then 16-year-old Wilson, both before and after the January 2019 homicide.
The Problem Solvers found some Snapchat videos featuring Wilson with younger kids and others in which he is posing with a gun or simulating shooting a gun with his fingers.
“It seems to me that these kids are fascinated with guns, and they don’t think through their conduct. They think it’s kind of fun to engage in these kind of robberies,” Berry said. “It’s just so sad.”
Multiple other Snapchat videos show Wilson appearing to smoke marijuana, sometimes with Snapchat filters covering parts of his face.
Sentencing for teens
Wilson is serving a seven-year Youthful Offender System sentence with a suspended, 35-year sentence at the Colorado Department of Corrections.
That means Wilson could be released after seven years if he successfully participates in and completes a structured prison program designed for high-risk youth and young adults. Berry said the program includes vocational and educational elements.
If he fails to complete the seven-year program, he will immediately begin serving the 35-year prison sentence.
Berry said she did not advocate for Wilson to have an opportunity in the Youthful Offender System. “We advocated for a Department of Corrections sentence for him,” she said, explaining that the judge determined the final sentence.
“Seven years for being involved in a murder of an individual is a little tough to swallow, but that’s what our legislature has said is available in these cases,” Berry said. “Youthful Offender System is available for young adult offenders or juveniles charged as adults.”