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Las Cruces murder suspect confesses to gruesome killing

Booking photo for Joel Arciniega-Saenz
Booking photo for Joel Arciniega-Saenz
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Warning, this news article contains disturbing content about the alleged murder that happened on Sunday at park in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The man accused in Las Cruces' latest murder allegedly decapitated the victim, according to court documents.

Joel Arciniega-Saenz was arrested Monday for the death of James Garcia, 51.

The gruesome crime happened at Apodaca Park.

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Police were called to the park after reports of a body in the roadway.

When they arrived they learned Garcia had been decapitated and stabbed multiple times, the documents allege.

Arciniega-Saenz was found at the park with dried blood on his hands and a bloody knife along his side.

While police investigators were reviewing the crime scene they also found Garcia's middle finger.

Police investigators found a shoe print near a pool of blood at the park where the victim's finger was also found, stated the court document.

During the interrogation at the Las Cruces Police Department, Arciniega-Saenz told investigators that he was homeless and slept at Apodaca Park.

Arciniega-Saenz allegedly told investigators that Garcia had raped his wife four years ago, but he refused to identify his "wife."

He then described to police investigators what led to the killing.

Arciniega-Saenz said he, his wife and Garcia had been hanging out four days prior to the killing.

The court document states that Arciniega-Saenz told police the three of them had fallen asleep.

He said when he and his wife woke up, Garcia was gone with their belongings.

Arciniega-Saenz said he followed Garcia to Apodaca Park to confront him.

During the confrontation, Arciniega-Saenz took a knife from Garcia and stabbed him several times and cut his head off.

He then told investigators that he dragged Garcia's body to the street and played soccer with Garcia's head.

Arciniega-Saenz is being held at the Dona Ana County Detention Center on a murder charge.

KFOX14 has learned that Arciniega-Saenz has a criminal history in Las Cruces.

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The Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office responded to our inquiry about Arciniega-Saenz's latest release from jail.

Our office has diligently argued to keep this guy in jail on the most recent charges for vandalizing Beck’s Coffee House, but the District Court Judge Wingenroth ‘didn’t find him dangerous’ and released him on a $2,000 bond.
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