Joseph Jones

Joseph Jones was arrested on May 14, 2020 and charged in the July 30, 2018 robbery and murder of 52-year-old Robert Romero in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Romero was robbed and shot in the backyard of his home.

A DNA profile was created from a pair of sunglasses and a flashlight that were left at the scene, making this one of the few cases to make use of touch DNA.

The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs, who narrowed the pool of suspects down to Jones, his brother, and a first cousin. Investigators obtained search warrants to take DNA samples from the three men. Jones’ brother and cousin were eliminated as suspects.

Jones’ attorney was arguing that the charges should be reduced to voluntary manslaughter. Jones’ defence was that after having been located in Romero’s yard, he was forced to fight back against the larger, stronger man. Romero was portrayed as taking the law into his own hands and having provoked his own murder.

On February 20, 2023, a jury in Santa Fe District Court found Jones to be guilty of felony murder and aggravated burglary after deliberating for less than two hours. Jones’ attorney states that they plan to appeal the verdict.

On May 1, 2023, Joens was sentenced to life in prison.


Associated Press. “Genetic Analysis Helps Police Make Arrest in Santa Fe Death.” Associated Press, May 15, 2020. Accessed December 24, 2020.

Haywood, Phaedra. “Joseph Jones Found Guilty of First-Degree Felony Murder in 2018 Backyard Shooting.” Santa Fe New Mexican, February 20, 2023. Last Modified February 21, 2023. Accessed February 28, 2023.

Haywood, Phaedra. “Man Sentenced to Life for 2018 Killing of Santa Fe Businessman During Burglary.” Santa Fe New Mexican, May 1, 2023. Last modified May 2, 2023. Accessed May 7, 2023.

Martinez, Amanda. “DA Seeks to Hold Santa Fe Murder Suspect in Jail Until Trial.” Santa Fe New Mexican, May 20, 2020. Accessed December 24, 2020.

Martinez, Amanda. “Santa Fe Police Arrest Suspect in 2018 Backyard Slaying.” Santa Fe New Mexican, May 14, 2020, last modified May 15, 2020. Accessed December 24, 2020.


First Name Joseph
Last Name Jones
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2020-01-01
Case Cleared 2020-05-14
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1363 Robert Romero 52 2018-07-30 Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe PD Second degree murder Accused was convicted after a trial Santa Fe DIST CT

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.