Inmate named possible co-defendant in El Rancho killings

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EL RANCHO, N.M. (AP) – A pregnant inmate facing burglary charges is being named as a possible co-defendant in the slayings of an El Rancho family.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that prosecutors said at a hearing for 28-year-old Ashley Mae Roybal on Friday that she could be implicated in the murders.

Defense attorney Michael Jones says Roybal has not been charged in the homicide case.

But both attorneys say they have been discussing a plea agreement for her in the case. The proposed agreement would settle her burglary charges and a probation violation.

Nicholas Ortiz

Authorities say 20-year-old Nicholas Ortiz killed 53-year-old Dixie Ortiz, 55-year-old Lloyd Ortiz and their special-needs son, 21-year-old Steven Ortiz, with a pickax in June 2011.

Police say Roybal’s cousin told investigators she helped plan a robbery of the home.

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