Murder on a Christmas Morning in Santa Fe


Deadly Love Triangle

Most of us probably agree that degrees of love exist on some sort of scale or continuum with true love existing at the top of the scale. The young man charged with murdering his ex girlfriend’s boyfriend probably did not love her in this sense. Suskiewich’s notion of love is much lower on the scale being closer to possession. He was one of the vertices on a deadly love triangle. 

The Arroyo Hondo man accused of killing a man on Christmas morning will continue to be held without bond after his arraignment Tuesday in Taos Magistrate Court.

Charles Suskiewich, 19, is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and possession of a stolen firearm in connection with the shooting of 21-year-old Dylan Breternitz several times in the stomach.

Breternitz died of his injuries after being airlifted to Christus-St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.

Suskiewich was arrested barely an hour after the shooting in his Arroyo Hondo home, where police found him packing.

According to the probable cause statement made public Tuesday in magistrate court, Breternitz’s girlfriend told police the couple was sleeping when Breternitz woke her and told her to hide in the bathroom because Suskiewich was “freaking out.”

The woman then told police she heard Breternitz speaking to someone, followed quickly by gunfire and the sound of Breternitz falling against the bathroom door. She said she then opened the door and called 911 from Breternitz’s cell phone.

According to police documents, Suskiewich’s girlfriend also called police about his alleged intentions. In her statement, Suskiewich’s girlfriend told police that Suskiewich showed up at her window around 2:30 a.m. Christmas Day “ranting about his demons and my demons” while going for a relative’s shotgun that was in the bedroom.

The woman told police that Suskiewich was threatening suicide, demanding to know if she had an affair with Breternitz and refusing to move until she said if she loved him.

When she admitted she had slept with Breternitz, the woman told police, Suskiewich began hitting himself with the rifle and trying to choke her. The girl’s family came in on the fight and quickly called police as Suskiewich fled the scene.

The woman said in her statement that shortly after he left, Suskiewich called her on her cell phone, saying that “Your new boyfriend’s dead because of you,” and “When Dylan didn’t answer, I knew he was telling the truth.”

He also told her that he was planning to leave the area, and she in turn alerted police.

While securing Suskiewich’s house, police also located a .357-caliber handgun on a closet shelf, matching four spent shells found at the scene.

When briefly interviewed by the Taos Police Department, Suskiewich did not say whether or not he killed Breternitz specifically, but did say that he “knew what he did” and that he’d been on a “self-destructive path” of late. Suskiewich told police he’d been drinking heavily the night of the shooting in an effort to kill himself.


22 comments on “Murder on a Christmas Morning in Santa FeAdd yours →

  1. It is very easy for an outsider to look inside and judge. Most of us have experienced unrequited love. This is an old argument and perspective, but if only Suskiewich could have seen he had his whole life in front of him! He would have had plenty of other opportunities to have met another woman and be happy with them.

  2. An older more mature person can easily look at the events and say that the death of Dylan Breternitz was senseless and avoidable. I only ask for a little compassion here and ask everybody to remember that first love and how intense it was AND how many foolish decisions you made during that time!

    I am not saying that the law should let up on Suskiewich for his choice to murder Breternitz, but try and remember the hateful and harmful thoughts that crossed your mind when one of your girlfriends was trying to steal away your boyfriend.

    1. Does anyone know why there has been such a surge of interest in the homicide of dylan breternits? The killer’s ex girlfriend should not have admitted she was having sex with dylan breternits. He might still be alive. Young aggressive, horny males can go off in a moment of passion and commit heinous acts that a cold shower could have prevented.

      1. In reply, the reason there is renewed interest is because the trial finally happened this week, two years after the murder. I would like to give a little expansion on the truth.The killer came over and banged on the window in the middle of the night on Christmas coercing her to let Charles in. Savannah had broken up with him over a month previous, and he would not stop pestering her, coming to her work and begging her to continue to go on walks, she felt like she would have mercy on him and talk to him. She is a decent person, and unfortunately, maybe a little to kind to those who do not treat her with the same respect. He told her he would not leave the house until she told him she loved him. She said she did not and had moved on. He then said she DID love him, she just did not know it, and that she was going to marry him. I personally saw a letter he had written months earlier stating this same thing. When she did not give him what he wanted, he proceeded to threaten to kill himself, banging his head with a small shotgun that was stored in the room where she lived. After a long argument, she finally said,”I have moved on; I’ve been with someone else.” Was that a mistake? I advised her to never tell him, even though they had been broken up for a few weeks before she was with Dylan. Under pressure and threat, who knows what you would do? She was not trying to hurt Charles, as the defense lawyer led the jurors to believe. What the jurors never knew was the great deal of coercion Charles could impose. There are numerous examples in the 2 years they were friends and then in a love relationship. I know this information first hand, and have no reason to fabricate. Charles was a privileged young man, the only son of divorced parents who faced the usual struggles of raising a teenager, with the added difficulty of reigning in someone who was very much used to using emotion to get his way.
        He then told Savannah he was never going to kill himself; he wanted the satisfaction on knowing he had ended Dylan’s life. You will never see this on the transcript of the trial, because it is the job of defense lawyers to twist and skew the truth. Thus the name “attorney” (“to turn”). Only a fraction of the witness’ statements were brought up, and then those were carefully modeled to persuade the 99% female jury to feel sorry for this baby faced boy. It worked. He hasn’t been sentenced yet, but he could serve the mandatory one year for firearms enhancement, and then be released on probation. I fear for my life and my daughter’s life because I have witnessed Charles assault my husband at the time, coming back a day after my ex told him to leave our house and never come back. That was planned, as he calmly waited in his vehicle for my ex to confront Charles for daring to return after the fight the night before. He waited for my ex to bang on his car window, then he slowly rolled it down and bear-maced my ex 3 times in the face. The result of that was that we were afraid my ex would lose sight in his eye. My ex tells me that he called Charles’ mother the next day to discuss what sanctions could be imposed on Charles. What about taking his car away? She replied that every time they would try to do something like that, Charles would go “ballistic”. Indeed.
        There’s more. I’m not here to slander Charles. He is suffering, and his parents are suffering. Dylan’s family is suffering, but they will never get their beautiful son back, as Charles’ parent will probably not only get him back in a few short years, but go on to watching him possibly have children. All the things that Charles denied to Dylan not out of love for his ex girlfriend Savannah, but out of that particular control that somehow it seems is still ok with some people on this forum. As the DA lawyer stated, Savannah was Charle’s EX-girlfriend. She did not flaunt or even hint at the one-time event with Dylan, because she knew she had made a mistake, as many of us have done. The DA stated she owed him nothing. I concur. Please come into the present where people, even females, are allowed to break up and move on, without fear.

        1. I apologize if my remarks came off as gender specific. Break ups are difficult presenting sometimes insoluble problems and inducing almost eternal stress on those close to the involved parties. I also apologize to Savannah as I know she has experienced abject misery and hope she can be happy.
          NOT Editor at Rock Shrimp.

        2. Speaking of slander and libel,Charles Sly who worked at Guyer Institute in 2011, now has a life that is forever in the toilet for his false claims regarding human growth hormones and Peyton Manning. Charles Sly was not too sly to implicate the NFL superstar trying to wreck his life. Sly suffers from Narcissistic complex and will now suffer financially the remainder of his life. Congratulations on ruining your own life Charlie boy.

      2. I personally have spent every single day since Christmas of 2011 thinking about my actions and how they have affected people and specifically Dylan. I know all of the things I could have done/not done that may have resulted in Dylan still being with us today. And there are enough of these to kill me every day. But I do not feel I need to justify myself in being honest with a man who was a pathological liar that was very possessive and relentless. As the trial took place this last week I have spent some time with Dylan’s family and gotten to know them. They requested some of Dylan’s belongings to take home with them, one of the things being Dylan’s journal. I read it one more time as I remembered that Dylan would have wanted me to be happy and live my life. And it occurred to me that I can do neither of these as I spend my days beating myself up over what happened that night. I have genuinely blamed myself for his death for two years. But now I would like to try to let that go and live my live. Sorry for my mistakes.

        1. As your mother mentioned, women can choose to sever a relationship just like their male counterparts. The male half of your past relationship is fully culpable for Dylan’s death and you should sleep easy and suffer no more anxiety or guilt. Any mistakes you made can not be construed as the cause of Dylan’s murder. Take care.

      3. What would you know about placing blame on the ex girlfriend? The guy may have been abusive and she chose to get out of relationship. Even if Suskiewich was not abusive, the woman can terminate relationship anytime she wants. After that she has no obligation to consider him or what is best for him! It not like a judge has placed gag order on her. Love affairs begin and end every day.

        So one not familiar with the details who sits back in judgement should reflect more on how they have conducted their own life rather than hold the people they hear about on the news to a higher standard than they hold themselves!

    2. Please know that Savannah’s and Dylan’s was not an ongoing relationship, as your statement seems to imply. It was a one time thing that happened, Savannah described it as an error in judgement,. She and Dylan were very close friends, and she knew he liked her, but she was not ready for another relationship she gone through a long breakup process with Charles weeks before. Please refrain from characterizing my this female as anything other that what I assure you she is, a young woman, not a relationship expert, but sincere and not setting out to hurt anyone, especially her ex boyfriend Charles, who I know she did love at one time, but had increasingly grown afraid of even before the breakup.
      As you said, young men have murderous thoughts in situation like this, but I submit to you that he had plenty of time to deal with these. I was there, I watched her hold him in a restraining hold, trying to reason with him and prevent him from leaving the thing he clearly planned to do, to the point that he had brought a gun with him.
      There is much more I could tell you about the circumstances which lead me to believe that Charles knew about Savannah and Dylan even more thn a month before…but none of t matters. We are trying to move on and heal from this terrible, life-altering even and hold our heads up in this tiny town. Suffering is my daughter who now hates herself and blames herself and makes herself physically suffer, no matter what I say, or how much help I want to give her. If you could see the result of her suffering, maybe you would feel better, thinking she deserved it, putting the face of perhaps someone who cheated on you, on my daughter. We all need to release and forgive or the suffering will not diminish. I release my attachment to whether or not Charles will serve a full sentence. I do not hate Charles, and I know right now, to me, he looks to me to be just a shadow of his former self. I have no idea what prison does for a person…my guess is that our system needs to be updated in light of what we have learned about humans over the past 50 years. I see his parents and do not know what to say, because nothing seems appropriate. I don’t know if they hate me, hate Savannah, blame us, or are sorry for what he did and reflecting on what they could have done differently. I just don’t know. I am imagining how I would feel, and it makes me sad.

      1. I came across this blog after doing some research. I would like to ask you a question. How old was your daughter when all of these events were taking place?? Was she of age when she was having all these relationships? I read that at the night of the event, she was at Christmas party until 1:00 a.m., where some enjoyed cocain as others played games. Did you know where YOUR daughter was until 1:00 a.m.? If Charles’s parents did not have control over their child, how did you guide yours??? Where is this young lady’s father? Do you see yourself responsible, to some extent???

        1. To “Voice of Reason” : Do you see YOURSELF as a judgmental PRICK? Do you have children? Are any of them girls? Do they give blow jobs to the the opposing football players after the high school game? Would you know if they did?

  3. Shooting at Berrendo middle school in Roswell has the town abuzz. Band student who was being bullied had enough and walked up to the person who had been picking on him and shot him in the face with a shot gun. Future bullies beware!

    1. A 12 year old who comes from a family of means shoots fellow student in the face with a shotgun and is charged with aggravated assault. Campbell’s actions were premeditated and he should be charged with assault with intent to murder. A 12 year old from a poor family living south side would be charged with attempted murder! Thanks to pastor Troy Smothermon,of Church on the Move, for his strength and prayer during this trying and stressful times.
      Jeff Buckels public defender says Mason Campbell can not be held accountable for shooting somebody in the head because of his tender age of 12. Buckels would surely feel differently had young Campbell tenderly shot one of the children of Buckels!

      1. Nathaniel Tavarez bullied Mason Campbell which is no secret to students and teachers at Berrendo middle school in Roswell. P. Herrera writes of a cover up favoring the rich kid Mason Campbell. He speaks of a father named Ismael who went to the school to defend his daughter, but the bullying continued unabated. More kids will get shot if school administrators continue to ignore the rampant problem of bullying.

        1. Why did Randal Seyler of Roswell refer to mason Campbell as alleged berrendo school shooter? HE WAS The shooter and Mason accepts full responsibility for ruining the lives of two school kids. One of his shooting victims has buckshot from his shotgun blast surrounding and infecting all her major organs.

          1. Mason Campbell did not give judge Freddie Romero much choice as the district court judge ruled that the 13 year old be confined until age 21. How much latitude can you give a shooter wielding a 20-gauge shot gun who recorded in his diary that “tomorrow will be fun” describing his intentions to gun down classmates in his school gymnasium?

            I never thought about shooting kids when I was 13. One of the victims effectively has lead poisoning for the rest of her life due to 150 lead pellets fired into her body by Mason. She will likely be denied her God Given right to have children.

            A simple and fair way to evaluate this is Mason planned to fire away with a shotgun with intent to kill. Who are you gonna trust to say he will ever be fully rehabilitated and no threat to society?

            1. The parents of Berrendo school shooter Mason Campbell, Jim and Jennifer are suing UNM hospital over the shooter’s medical records. All the students who were terrorized by the shotgun wielding head case that horrific day in the school gym should file class action suit against parents for bad parenting.

  4. The ex girlfriend is my neice. She didn’t tell the perpetrator. The victem told him. There’s a whole lot more to this that I can’t say. Just suffice to say, there’s more to this story.

  5. I tend to agree with you as an unchecked Mason Campbell could be become the next Jaylen Fryberg who killed at Marysville-Pilchuck High School after fighting over a girl. Maybe his parents need the money to defend him and take care of him which would explain the unjustified lawsuit they are filing over the invasion of privacy regarding his UNM hospital mental health records. However, you can only blame the parents so much. Some kids are just monsters out of the womb!!

    1. Mason Campbell walked into school gym intending to kill some of his classmates and now his parents Jennifer and Jim have audacity to file lawsuit saying their kid who modified a shotgun for the purpose of murdering is having his civil rights violated!

      Mason Campbell brought a sawed-off shotgun into the Berrendo Middle School gymnasium in Roswell and shot 12-year-old Nathanial Tavarez in the face, critically wounding him, and 13-year-old Kendal Sanders in the shoulder. Mason’s violent attacks were premeditated and he had written about them in a notebook where he verified he had altered his father’s gun in preparation for the shooting spree where a young woman was shot in her womb and will never be able to bear children!!!

      1. Who should be surprised that attorney Gary C. Mitchell Ruidoso called The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department an abject failure?

        Mitchell has been retained by the owners of Campbell Construction and Granite to sue CYFD. Look for a long list of dilatory tactics designed to rapidly increase the billable hours and fees of the opportunistic lawyer with no ties in Roswell.

        Juvenile Justice was served and Mason is best kept locked up. His parent are equally to blame for leaving sawed off shotgun within easy access for their Berrendo Middle School shooter offspring.

        Kendal Sanders should file lawsuit against the owners of Campbell Construction for permanent lost of mobility in her shoulder and arm. Mitchell would have represented her in court had her parents had more money. How is that for abject people?

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