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Home » Pueblo man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally beating his uncle in 2019 – Pueblo Chieftain

Pueblo man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally beating his uncle in 2019 – Pueblo Chieftain

Judge Thomas Flesher sentenced Robert Moncivaiz, 52, of Pueblo, to 20 years in prison for fatally beating his uncle in 2019.
Moncivaiz was arrested on April 4, 2019, in the beating of his uncle, Ernest Gallegos, 63, on April 1, 2019, and charged with assault. Gallegos died days later, and Moncivaiz was charged with second degree murder. He pleaded guilty to that charge on June 10, although he has alleged throughout his court appearances to have no memory of killing his uncle.
Moncivaiz was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison as well as five years of post-release parole. He was awarded credit for 121 days already served. He may also be subject to paying restitution. 
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According to the Pueblo police, Gallegos was assaulted in the 500 block of East Evans Avenue and died of his injuries on April 9, 2019, at a local hospital. Moncivaiz is Gallegos’s nephew and was his roommate at the time.
According to arrest documents, Moncivaiz called 911 and led officers to the scene that night. He first told law enforcement that he was drinking elsewhere, and came home to find his uncle had fallen and hit his head on a bed frame. 
According to the arrest documents and Deputy District Attorney Emily Vandenberg’s sentencing argument, Gallegos’ beating resulted in blood spatters on “all levels” of the wall, and medical experts who attended to Gallegos said some of his wounds were consistent with receiving further injury while on the ground. Vandenberg said all of Gallegos’ ribs on one side of his body were broken, which was not consistent with Moncivaiz’s original statements of Gallegos falling.
According to family testimony at the sentencing hearing, Moncivaiz’s wife had evicted him from her home and obtained a protection order against him for his behavior in the homedue to persistent mental illness and possible abuse of alcohol. Sobriety had been a tenant to keep the couple together for nearly10 years, one family member testified.
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During his sentencing hearing, almost two dozen family members filled the courtroom gallery. Their sentiments were largely the same: Moncivaiz was a mentor figure and welcoming to all, but he changed after he got a traumatic brain injury during a motorcycle crash in 2015.
Moncivaiz was drunk during the crash, family members testified Friday. Following the crash, he was diagnosed with several mental illnesses and received medication to help him. However, family members told the judge Moncivaiz stopped taking the medication when it became hard to find and instead turned to alcohol as a way to medicate himself. After four years of his wife and family offering aid, Moncivaiz was evicted by his wife and went to live with his uncle, Gallegos.
Moncivaiz has maintained that he blacked out from drinking alcohol and does not remember what happened between him and his uncle.
Moncivaiz told the judge that his actions that night are not characteristic of who he is on a day-to-day basis.
“Who I was then is not me,” he said. “I’m ashamed over this.”
Flesher told Moncivaiz that his choice to drink alcohol was what led him to the court, and called the beating “brutal.”
“This didn’t need to happen,” he told Moncivaiz. “You made the voluntary decision to drink. There is no reason for you to be here; there is no reason for Mr. Gallegos had to die.”
Pueblo has many resources for individuals with mental health or addictions struggles, including:
Southern Colorado Alcoholics Anonymous hosts several group meetings in Pueblo
Recovery Solutions hosts a Self-Management and Recover Training (SMART) meetings at 1-2 p.m. on Fridays
Friendly Harbor Community Center also hosts a SMART meeting from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays.
Alcoholics Anonymous also hosts electronic meetings for anyone to participate.
Narcotics Anonymous hosts a number of meetings in the Pueblo area.
Pueblo County has compiled a list of many organizations that offer mental health resources.
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Chieftain reporter Heather Willard can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter: @HeatherDWrites.


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