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Authorities: NM judge, husband die in likely murder-suicide

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A municipal judge in New Mexico appears to have been fatally shot by her husband before he killed himself, authorities said.

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies found the bodies of Diane Albert, 65, and Eric Pinkerton, 63, several dogs and a cat on Friday at their home in the Village of Los Ranchos, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jayme Fuller said. She said Pinkerton apparently shot and killed them all before taking his own life.

Albert was a municipal judge for the Village of Los Ranchos, which borders Albuquerque, and was a former planning and zoning commissioner for the North Valley community. She also had served as a Los Alamos County commissioner and president of the Bike Coalition of New Mexico, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Fuller said a friend of the couple contacted the sheriff’s office sometime before 4 p.m. on Friday “after receiving a troubling message” from Pinkerton. In the message, she said, Pinkerton stated that he had shot his wife and dogs and was going to kill himself.

The state auditor, Brian S. Colon, said in a Facebook post Saturday that Albert had been his friend for decades — “a kindhearted soul who always uplifted me and others.” He said she “always entered our home with a smile and usually wearing her bicycle helmet.”

“We are heartsick hearing the news of this senseless tragedy,” Los Ranchos Administrator Ann Simon said. “Diane Albert, our elected municipal judge, was a longtime Los Ranchos resident, a brilliant mind, and a friend. We can’t ignore that this happened on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.”

Joe Craig, president of Friends of Los Ranchos, told the Journal he was shocked by the news. He and Albert were neighbors who worked together for several years on the planning and zoning commission.

“Just a nice, nice lady,” Craig said. “I’ve never seen her with a mean bone in her body.”