February 1, 2023

Solomon Peña to remain behind bars as he awaits trial in shootings at New Mexico lawmakers homes

3 min read


gave Republican New Mexico State House Candidate Fails The man accused of masterminding shootings at the homes of Democratic officials will remain in prison as he awaits trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Second Judicial District Court Judge David Murphy said Solomon Pina is a danger to the shooting targets and their family members. He also pointed to Pena’s history of felony convictions for property crimes and the use of stolen vehicles, which police say were used in shootings in December and early January.

Prosecutor Natalie Levine said Peña led a team that fired shots at the homes of elected officials. Pena provided the guns used in the shootings, suggested the use of stolen cars to avoid detection and was present at the fourth and final shooting, an investigator said.

Albuquerque police Detective Conrad Griego, citing a confidential witness, said Pena had complained that at least one of the shootings occurred late at night, with bullets going too far into the home — making it more likely that the target was hit. Decreased.

“He’s supplying the firearms. Levin said he’s helping other individuals create a plan, including using stolen vehicles.

Pena’s attorney, Roberta Yurk, argued that Pena was never found with a firearm, and sought to cast doubt on the credibility of the undercover witness.

The detention hearing comes a week after Pena, who lost the 2022 election for House District 14, He was arrested by the police SWAT team.. Authorities say he hired and conspired with four men to shoot up the homes of two state lawmakers and two county commissioners since the election — which Albuquerque’s mayor called politically motivated attacks. described as

No one was injured in the shooting, although a bullet went through the child’s bedroom while the child was inside.

Pena faces preliminary charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. attempted aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; criminal plea; And four counts of shooting at an occupied dwelling, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, and conspiracy, according to the warrant.

It has been held. Since without bail He was taken into custody.

“Mr. Peña and I look forward to a full and fair investigation into these claims,” ​​Urick said in a statement. “I intend to fully defend Mr. Pena and will vigorously protect his rights throughout this process.”

False and baseless claims about election rigging have erupted across the country in recent years and fueled anger and threats of violence against elected officials — even in local politics.

Peña lost his race to Democratic state representative Miguel Garcia on November 8, 2022, 26% to 74%. A week later, he tweeted that he had “never recognized” the race and was researching his options.

According to Albuquerque police, the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adrian Barboa was shot multiple times on Dec. 4, the home of incoming State House Speaker Javier Martinez was shot on Dec. 8, and the home of former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. was shot on December 11 and the home of State Senator Linda Lopez was shot on January 3.

Pena’s arrest warrant affidavit identifies the two alleged co-conspirators as Demetrio Trujillo and Jose Trujillo. According to a relative, Demetriou is Jose’s father.

Albuquerque police wrote in the affidavit, “There is probable cause to believe that shortly after this failed operation, he (Pena) along with Demetriou, Jose and two brothers took these four pills to selected local and state governments.” , at the homes of the officers,” Albuquerque police wrote in the affidavit. . “Suleiman provided firearms and cash and personally participated in at least one shooting.”

Albuquerque police said they are investigating whether there was a drinking spree. Funded in part by cash from drug sales who were laundered in campaign donations.

Police say Jose Trujillo, who donated $5,155 to Pena’s failed campaign and listed his occupation as “cashier,” was arrested on Jan. 3 — the last night of the four shootings. on an outstanding felony warrant.

A Bernallo County sheriff’s deputy found him with more than $3,000 in cash, about 900 narcotic pills worth about $15,000 and two guns, one of which was ballistically matched to that day’s shooting, police said. A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was stopped while driving Pena’s vehicle because the investigation is ongoing.

Efforts to reach attorneys for the Trujillos were unsuccessful.

Pena previously served nearly seven years in prison after being convicted in 2008 of stealing large quantities of goods in a “break-and-grab scheme.” CNN affiliate KOAT Reported

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