LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Cristal Cardenas, 34, will spend 54 years behind bars for a murder-for-hire plot. A Las Cruces jury convicted Cardenas of first-degree murder for the deaths of her ex, Mario Cabral, and his girlfriend at the time, Vanessa Mora.

According to court documents, Cabral and Mora were found shot to death in their home on March 25, 2018. The investigation discovered that Cardenas and Cabral were in a custody battle and fighting over the home. Cabral had told several people that he had heard Cardenas had put a “hit” out on him and Mora.

Edward Alonso was interviewed in the Doña Ana County Detention Center in relation to the two deaths. Alonso told police he was contacted by Cardenas to kill Cabral. He said he followed Cardenas to Garfield so she could give him directions to the house. Alonso was given a $3,000 retainer but was arrested on his way back to Roswell on an outstanding warrant.

Alonso testified that Cardenas told him that if he couldn’t do the job, her boyfriend, Luis Flores, would do it. Alonso was able to identify Cardenas, Flores, and Cabral from photos.