Mother of Jeremiah Valencia accepts plea deal for 12 years in prison

Crime

A mother will spend 12 years in prison for the brutal torture and murder of her 13-year-old son who was found buried along a New Mexico road. 

Tracy Pena took a plea deal Wednesday after prosecutors pointed out she was also a victim. 

Although Pena pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death, the state did not ignore the fact that Pena was a victim of domestic violence. 

Wednesday, KRQE News 13 spoke with her mother. 

“That’s a big enough punishment right there because she’ll never be able to see his smile, hear his laughter,” Teresa Tapia said. 

Jeremiah Valencia, 13, was beaten, left in a dog crate, forced to wear diapers and was killed allegedly by Thomas Ferguson and his son, Jordan Nunez, last year in Nambe. 

In court Wednesday, prosecutors say Ferguson kept his girlfriend, Tracy Pena, drugged up and under video surveillance. 

They also called Pena a drug addict, which her mother said in part led to her grandson’s death. 

District Attorney Marco Serna pointed out Pena led them to Jeremiah’s body in a shallow grave off a road near Nambe. However, he said because she did not speak up, her son was murdered. 

“We had a mother said that she was guilty of causing the child’s death by her inaction because that’s essentially what happened. She was present and didn’t do anything about it,” Serna said. 

Pena also pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance, but the nine year sentence for those charges were suspended. 

A big part of the plea deal is Pena will have to testify against accused killer, Jordan Nunez. 

If she does not meet that part of the agreement or gets into any criminal trouble, the nine years suspended will be tacked onto the 12 years bringing her sentence up to 21 years. 

Thomas Ferguson who was also accused of killing the teen, killed himself in prison. 

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