Murder Suspect 'Played Soccer' With Victim's Head in Street After Decapitation

Joel Arciniega-Saenz, a New Mexico man who has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, reportedly told police he played soccer with his victim's decapitated head before he was taken into custody.

The Las Cruces police confirmed Arciniega-Saenz made the comment to officers, although they couldn't verify he actually kicked his victim's head. The 25-year-old was charged on Sunday for the fatal stabbing of a man in a Las Cruces, N.M., park.

Officers were dispatched to Apodaca Park after receiving reports of a body in the roadway and when they arrived, they found a decapitated person lying face down. Officers found the head of James Garcia, who was later identified as the victim, about 10 yards from his body.

Police found Arciniega-Saenz in the park, according to court documents, and he appeared to have dried blood on his hands. Officers reportedly found Arciniega-Saenz near a knife that had been stabbed into the ground. The defendant told officers that Garcia raped his wife four years ago, but he wouldn't tell police his wife's name.

"I was just shocked it actually happened. It's stuff you see in crime movies or stuff like that," Mark Rey, a man who lives in Las Cruces, told KFOX14.

Joel Arciniega-Saenz new mexico murder
Joel Arciniega-Saenz was arrested and charged with first degree murder after he allegedly decapitated a man in a New Mexico park. Las Cruces Police Department

This isn't the first time Arciniega-Saenz has had a run-in with law enforcement and KDBC reported he has a lengthy history of criminal charges. In 2017, he was arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Benjamin Montoya. Krystal Montoya, Benjamin's sister, told KDBC she was "angry" when she saw Arciniega-Saenz had been arrested again.

"I prayed he wouldn't do it again and ruin someone else's family," Krystal said. "I was very angry because they let a monster out."

Charges against Arciniega-Saenz for the 2017 murder were dismissed after a key witness was found with a gun of the same caliber that was used to kill Benjamin, according to KDBC. He was also arrested in May for vandalizing businesses but was released when he posted bail.

While examining Garcia's body on Sunday, officers found that the middle finger of his right hand had been removed. It was later found in a pool of blood at the base of a tree where officers also found footprints that matched the pattern on the soul of Arciniega-Saenz's shoes.

"I don't want this guy to be released again and go do something stupid again and go hurt another family again," Krystal told KDBC. "No matter how much I hurt from my brother, I can say that I hurt for this person's family. He needs to be put away period."