Brown pleads guilty to Aggravated Robbery

Courtesy photo Shem Brown

ALAMOSA — Following court proceedings that date back to April of 2019, Shem Brown recently appeared in court on a plea deal related to felony charges in the August 2018 murder of Mathias Fritz, 40, and shooting of Alma Salazar, 36, in Alamosa.

As part of a resolution agreed to by defense counsel Riley Selleck and DA Alonzo Payne, Mr. Brown pled guilty to Aggravated Robbery, a class 3 felony. In exchange for his guilty plea, all other remaining counts were dismissed, which originally included first degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, all carrying sentence enhancers as Crimes of Violence.

The plea agreement presented to the court stipulates that Mr. Brown shall be sentenced to the Department of Corrections and, while sentencing is open to the court, “the parties have stipulated that the sentence be no less than fifteen years and shall not exceed thirty years.”

According to court documents obtained by the Courier, around 3:30am on August 9, 2018, an ambulance was dispatched to the Loaf ‘n Jug at 6988 Highway 17 in Alamosa on reports of a woman “covered in blood and who appeared to be severely injured.”

Officers with Alamosa Police Department (APD) arrived on the scene where they learned Salazar had been shot in the left cheek with the bullet exiting her neck. Salazar, now 36 years old, told the officers that she and her boyfriend had been attacked and assaulted but she could not recall the address or her boyfriend’s name.

While Salazar was transported to the hospital, officers contacted her father to get her address and subsequently learned that her boyfriend was Mathias Fritz who lived at 175.5 Broadway near Loaf ‘n Jug. After going to the residence, they could find no evidence that she had been shot at that location.

About 6:30am, John Gonzales arrived on the scene. Gonzales, a friend of Mr. Fritz, said he would check to see if Fritz was home. Upon entering Mr. Fritz’s apartment, Gonzales went in far enough to see large amounts of blood in the kitchen and the bathroom. He then called out to the officers who removed him from the scene and went inside.

Upon entering, the officers found Mathias Fritz, 40, deceased in the bathroom. 

A subsequent investigation was conducted, which included multiple interviews with Ms. Salazar, who was recuperating after surgery. It was learned that, according to court documents, Robert Martinez, 31, Shawndon McVey, 28 and Shem Brown, 29, had forced their way into Fritz’s apartment and, after assaulting the couple, put Ms. Salazar and Mr. Fritz in separate bathrooms. Fritz was beaten, causing a severe brain injury, prior to being shot. Salazar was shot, as well.

Both Martinez and McVey have pled guilty in the crime. McVey pled guilty to a Class 4 felony of conspiring to aggravated robbery as a crime of violence and second degree kidnapping as a crime of violence.

Robert Martinez pled guilty to 2nd degree murder, a class 2 felony, in the death of Mathias Fritz and 1st degree assault, a class 3 felony, for actions that caused serious bodily injury to Alma Salazar, Fritz’s girlfriend. Both crimes were considered Crimes of Violence.

On August 16, 2021 Martinez was sentenced to serve a total of 50 years in the Department of Corrections (DOC), including 34 years for the 2nd degree murder of Mathias Fritz, 40, and 16 years for the assault with a deadly weapon of Alma Salazar, 36.

A date for sentencing has not been set. Sentencing will be handed down by Judge Martin Gonzales, presiding.