A gunman murdered John and Bernadette Ohlemacher in 2005 in their Albuquerque home.
Prosecutors say their mortgage broker, Ronald Santiago, (right) is the killer. But the case against him is caught in legal quicksand.
Today, for the second time, the state Supreme Court heard arguments on whether a search by police of Santiago's home in 2006 was legal.
Former state District Judge Albert "Pat" Murdoch first ruled that the police search was illegal because it occurred too late at night.
The Supreme Court reversed Murdoch and sent the case back to him. But Murdoch again ruled that the search of Santiago's home was illegal, this time because of police advances without a warrant.
In sum, police say they entered Santiago's home during the afternoon to make sure nobody was in a position to destroy or hide evidence. They found the house unoccupied. Santiago, in fact, was in the hospital.
All this occurred without a warrant. Santiago's lawyer said it was illegal.
The state attorney general's staff argues to the contrary.
It contends that, even if the four-minute "walk-through" broke the law, the case against Santiago was not poisoned. No evidence was gathered in that first walk-through.
Because no evidence was taken by police when they first entered to check the house, the attorney general says, the eventual search was lawful.
Santiago, now 46, was helping the Ohlemachers refinance their home.
In an unrelated case, Santiago was sentenced last summer to five years of supervised probation for fraud and tampering with evidence.
That case involved home re-financing for another couple.