A former Rutgers University basketball player was given a 22 year prison sentence in a plea deal where he agreed to plead guilty to the charge of homicide, brutally killing Isis Atalia Montoya Romero, according to information obtained from the Baja California state court system.
The victim was a 19-year-old young woman working at the Adelita’s nightclub, a notorious strip club in Tijuana’s Red Light district and her assassin – Logan Kelley – was a former basketball standout at Rutgers University who was arrested in February 2021 for her murder.
He was seen coming up behind the young victim and slicing her throat with a knife that he carried concealed in his sweatshirt pocket.
The nightclub describes itself as the “most traditional and famous men’s club in Tijuana – in operation since 1962,” a strip club that has been a popular stop for tourists seeking female companionship along Calle Coahuila, where hundreds of young women wearing short skirts and tall heels are seen all hours of the day and night, lining the sidewalks and working as prostitutes 24 hours a day.
The crime was caught on surveillance cameras and Kelley was immediately detained at the scene by security personnel working at the club, apparently attacking the victim in a tragic case of mistaken identity; he came to the club looking to harm a different woman and mistook Montoya for his intended target.
The knife that was retrieved from Kelley at the scene was a clip-point blade with an unspecified type of military seal and an image of an assault rifle etched onto the handle, according to investigators which initially fueled the rumors that Kelley was a U.S. service member.
Rumors that circulated in the days following the crime that Kelley had previously maintained a relationship with the victim were later disproven, as well as the assertion that he was a member of the U.S. military.
Montoya left behind a 4-year-old son who was at the establishment on the night she was murdered.
According to details of the plea agreement that were released, Kelley agreed to pay restitution to the child and her extended family of approximately 800,000 pesos, or nearly 40,000 dollars in today’s exchange rate.
Kelley was initially charged with feminicide, a hate crime in Mexico that carries a sentence of 30 to 60 years. Prosecutors agreed to a negotiated 22-year sentence in exchange for Kelley’s guilty plea, rather than take the case to trial.
In a graphic video that circulated widely on social media networks, Kelley appeared to have been wearing a coronavirus mask as he approached the victim at a rapid pace from behind, catching her and then wrapping his arm around Montoya’s neck, when he stabbed the victim and sliced her throat before throwing her down onto the floor.
At that moment, Kelley attempted to flee and was seen on the video running away from the scene with a security guard close behind chasing him, as Montoya was left struggling alone on the floor in the video.
With the year and a half of time already served, Kelley may be eligible for parole in a little over 10 years if he has paid the restitution to the victim’s family by then, according to state court authorities we spoke with.
Upon hearing the news of the sentence – Jose Montoya – the victim’s father, was angered at what he viewed as a ridiculously short sentence, believing that his daughter did not receive justice.
“The judge, the prosecutor, even the attorney representing my daughter in court all acted in favor of (Kelley) and not for her. I am very frustrated by all the corruption and the deception,” said José Montoya, speaking to reporters by phone from his home in Hildago, a small state in central Mexico.
“There is video of what this assassin did to my daughter. He practically decapitated her! It seems like the judge didn’t even see the video,” he added.