Solomon Pena during his teleconference first appearance Wednesday afternoon on allegations that he conspired with several men to shoot up local politician’s homes. (Screenshot by Matthew Reisen)
Solomon Pena shuffled into a room at the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon, the shackles on his hands and legs jingling.
The 39-year-old was appearing via video for his first hearing since being arrested in a politically motivated attack that left local leaders’ homes pockmarked with bullets.
Pena looked solemn and said nothing during the brief hearing, closing and opening his eyes a few times while keeping his hands clasped together.
Bernalillo Metropolitan Court Judge Jill Martinez determined Pena would be held pending a detention hearing.
The date for that hearing has not been set.
The next step
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Prosecutors have sought to detain Pena until trial on several counts each of shooting at a dwelling or building, shooting at or from a motor vehicle and conspiracy, among others.
The Arnold Tool, which predicts the likelihood that a defendant will show up to court and/or commit a new crime, suggested Pena be released.
The decision, however, always comes down to the judge.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, in a statement Wednesday, called the tool “fatally flawed” in cases like Pena’s but acknowledged it was not the only factor that plays into a judge’s decision.
Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, said the research-validated tool gives “evidence-based information” to help decide the level of appropriate pretrial services and supervision.
‘Unwilling to accept reality’
Prosecutors allege Pena targeted politicians after running an unsuccessful political campaign and, according to police, believing the election was “rigged.”
Authorities allege Pena masterminded a string of drive-by shootings over the course of a month that targeted the homes of Bernalillo County Commissioners Adriann Barboa and Debbie O’Malley, state Rep. Javier Martínez and state Sen. Linda Lopez.
“(Pena’s) actions show what lengths he is willing to go when he is dissatisfied with reality. He arranged multiple shootings of multiple homes, and he personally participated in at least one of the shootings,” prosecutors wrote in a pretrial detention motion. “There is no reason to believe that someone so unwilling to accept reality will give any credence to court-ordered conditions of release.”
Second Judicial District Attorney Sam Bregman said Wednesday he will be prosecuting the case himself.
Pena’s attorney did not respond to a call for comment Wednesday.
A father and son, Demetrio, 41, and Jose Trujillo, 21, have also been implicated by police as being part of the plot, along with two others who have not yet been identified.
They have not been charged in connection with the shootings.
Jose Trujillo, 21, is in federal custody after Bernalillo County deputies allegedly pulled him over in Pena’s car and found fentanyl, guns and cash. Authorities say one of the guns matched the casings found outside Lopez’s home.
Demetrio Trujillo was arrested last week after, according to police, he was found in a stolen truck with several fentanyl pills. He has since been released pending trial.