ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the suspects in the death of an Albuquerque mother and daughter has pled guilty to multiple charges in the crash that killed them. Paul Garcia’s plea comes as the result of an agreement to testify against his counterpart, Elexus Groves.
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Garcia pled guilty Tuesday afternoon to four charges including two counts of unlawful taking of a vehicle and conspiracy to unlawfully take a vehicle. However, the plea bargain also comes with a new charge: knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death. “You being a passenger with the driver of a motor vehicle involved resulting in the death of Shaylee Boling and Shaunna Arredondo, you help, encouraged, or caused the driver to knowingly fail to stop or immediately return to the scene of the accident to comply with New Mexico law. Did that happen in this case?” a judge asked Garcia during the hearing. “Yes it did, your honor,” Garcia replied.
Court documents show Garcia will agree to testify during Elexus Groves’ trial, saying she used methamphetamine shortly before stealing and driving a van as they fled officers back in January 2017. During the chase, police say they crashed into another car, killing 14-year-old Shaylee Boling and her mother, Shaunna Arredondo-Boling. Documents show Garcia is also expected to testify that Groves told him she did not want to go back to jail, as a possible motive for fleeing the police prior to the crash.
“When you change your plea to guilty, you are giving up your right to have this matter go to trial. You’re giving up your right to present any defenses you may have, your right to cross-examine the state’s witnesses, your right to remain silent, as well as your right to appeal. Do you understand you’re giving up those rights?” asked the judge during the hearing. “Yes, I do, your honor,” Garcia replied.
Garcia and Groves both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges that were re-instated by the state Supreme Court late last year. As a result of the plea bargain, Garcia’s original sentence of 10 years and six months will be shortened to six years, with four years of supervised probation.
Garcia is set to be formally sentenced after testifying in Groves’ trial. The state’s trial against Groves is scheduled to begin on Aug. 10 and will last about two weeks.