EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) – The shooting death of a beloved gas station attendant shook a small New Mexico community to its core. Now, one of the women involved in the robbery turned murder will go to federal prison but only for fraction of the time that was on the table.
- Suspect in Edgewood murder case caught after two years on the run
- Edgewood shooting suspects appear in court
- Judge: Suspect in deadly gas station shooting to remain behind bars
- Suspects in deadly Edgewood shooting face federal charges
- State Police identify victim of fatal shooting at Smith’s in Edgewood
In 2018, 62-year-old Michael Pelkey was murdered over $48 at a Smith’s gas station in Edgewood that he dedicated a dozen years of his life to. Thursday, Eileen Sandoval admitted to making the call that started the entire situation.
“When Michael came here 15 years ago, he was very much lost in many respects, and for him to come here and really be formed by a community and become that wonderful man that everyone knows… it’s amazing the way he transformed because of the love of this community,” said Michael’s brother, Patrick Pelkey.
Following the 2018 shooting, a huge show of support came from the Edgewood community. People piled flowers, balloons, and cards on Michael’s car. Federal court documents show Sandoval admitted to being at the Smith’s gas station in 2018. She says she saw the gas station cashier’s booth was not locked, like normal. She made a call to Daniel Gonzales and soon after, he showed up with a car full of people ready to rob the cashier, Michael.
Gonzales grabbed $48 off the counter and Michael caught him. There was a struggle until one of the other men in Gonzales’s car, Daniel Martinez is accused of firing a shot, killing Michael. “I was very, very shocked. One, because he’s a young man, 62 is not that old, but more importantly, it was such tragedy,” said Patrick.
After the shooting, Sandoval admitted to telling Gonzales they were not being followed because her involvement was limited to those phone calls, prosecutors and the defense reached a plea agreement. Sandoval pled guilty to the federal charge of interfering with Interstate Commerce by robbery or violence in exchange for a seven-year prison sentence.
Twenty years was on the table but the judge agreed seven years was fair. Sandoval will also have to go through a drug treatment program. Six other people were arrested for their roles in Michael’s murder. The triggerman, Martinez, is facing federal charges and his trial is set for September. The man who actually stole the money, Gonzales, too plead guilty and awaiting sentencing in federal court.
Four other people were only charged at the state level because they didn’t play active roles in the crime though they were in the car at the time of it. They all pled guilty and received suspended sentences.