A well-respected New Mexico judge was shot dead by her husband who then turned the gun on himself, but not before he left a disturbing message for a friend, according to police.
According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Village of Los Ranchos Municipal Judge Diane Albert, as well as some of her pets, died in a suspected murder-suicide carried out by her husband Eric Pinkerton.
Albert, 65, and Pinkerton, 63, were discovered by investigators on Friday after a friend of the couple alerted authorities about getting a “troubling message” from Pinkerton, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Jayme Fuller.
“He left a voice-mail to his friend stating that he murdered his wife and his dogs and his cat. And he is about to murder himself,” according to a dispatch pieced together by local news station KOAT-TV.
NBC News reported the sheriff’s office confirmed the dispatch.
City officials mourned her death over the weekend.
“We are heartbroken to learn of Diane Albert’s untimely death as our elected municipal judge,” Los Ranchos Mayor Donald Lopez and Village Administrator Ann Simon stated in a joint statement. “She was a longstanding resident of Los Ranchos, a brilliant legal mind, and a friend.”
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Albert was also a practicing patent attorney.
Albert’s neighbor, Joe Craig, told the newspaper he was surprised by her death. Craig, the president of Friends of Los Ranchos, previously served on the planning and zoning commission.
“Just a nice, nice lady,” he said. “I’ve never seen her with a mean bone in her body.”