ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Prosecutors are attempting to hold a former New Mexico House candidate in jail while he awaits trail on accusations that he helped plan several shootings at four elected leaders’ homes. Solomon Peña made his first appearance in Albuquerque Metro Court Wednesday afternoon, facing 15 charges in the case that’s received national attention.
Investigators with Albuquerque Police accuse Peña of paying four people $500 to shoot at the homes of four Albuquerque Democrats. The shootings happened across multiple days in December and January, targeting the homes of two Bernalillo County Commissioners and two state legislators.
In a brief hearing Wednesday, Judge Jill Martinez told Peña that he will continue to be held in the Metropolitan Detention Center without a bond while prosecutors with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office prepare for a pre-trial detention hearing. Peña didn’t say anything in the hearing, only nodding his head to acknowledge a statement from the judge.
Peña is facing multiple felony charges, including possession of a firearm, shooting at an occupied dwelling, shooting from a motor vehicle, attempt to commit aggravated assault and several conspiracy-related charges. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina called Peña a “mastermind” behind orchestrating the shootings.
Investigators ultimately caught a break in the case after one of the people Peña is accused of conspiring with was pulled over in a traffic stop. Less than an hour after a shooting at a state senator’s home on January 3, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy unknowingly pulled over one of the suspected shooters, Jose Trujillo, for having expired tags.
At the time Trujillo was pulled over, he was not suspected in the shooting. However, deputies found guns and drugs in the car. The car was registered to Peña. Days later, one of the seized guns was linked to evidence collected at the scene of the January 3 shooting.
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According a public safety assessment used by the court, an algorithm recommends that Peña be released on his own recognizance. While he does have a prior felony conviction, the assessment argues that Peña is not accused of a violent felony and his failure to appear in court was more than two years ago.
In a “pre-trial detention” motion hearing expected in roughly two weeks, a New Mexico District Court judge will ultimately decide if Peña should be released ahead of his trial. So far, no court date has been set.