On Wednesday, a defeated Republican candidate accused of planning a string of drive-by shootings at the residences of Democratic politicians in the state’s major city made his initial court appearance.
Solomon Pea was shown on camera chained up as the judge declared that he would be jailed without bond until a detention hearing set for the following month.
Until his trial, prosecutors have filed a motion to detain him in jail. However, defense lawyer Roberta Yurcic stated that she would ask for conditions to be put in place so that her client might be released while his case is heard in state district court.
Pea is accused of several offenses related to shootings that began in early December and extended into January. Among the allegations are a house shooting, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and having a firearm while a felon.
Using a combination of cellphone and car records, bullet casings found close to the officials’ residences, information from a confidential witness, and information from the 39-year-old criminal, authorities were able to identify him as the main suspect.
Pea declared on social media that the November election was “rigged” and that he would not give up the statehouse despite being soundly defeated.
A criminal complaint claims that the political newcomer bribed four men to shoot at the residences of Democratic officials, including one place where a 10-year-old daughter was fast asleep.
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Pea’s case is just one of the dozens across the country where people have threatened and, in some cases, attempted to carry out acts of violence against members of Congress, school boards, and other election officials. Pea had posted pictures of himself online with Donald Trump campaign materials.
Pea, the self-styled “MAGA king,” texted one of his accused collaborators in November to express his displeasure with the election and the certification of the results.
The addresses of the targeted authorities were included in other communications.
A SWAT unit captured Pea on Monday.
Following his arrest in April 2007 for participating in what the police characterized as a burglary team to steal electronics and other items from various retail outlets, Pea served nine years in prison. After completing five years of probation in April 2021, he was freed from prison in March 2016 and had his voting privileges reinstated, according to correctional officials.
The longstanding Democrat who represents House District 14 in the South Valley, Miguel P. Garcia, ran against Pea in November but lost. 26% of the vote went to Pea.
He shared a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hoodie on November 15 with the caption, “Trump just announced for 2024. I support him. Never did I relinquish my HD 14 race. I’m now looking into my possibilities.
The drive-by shootings hurt no one, and elected officials from both sides have denounced such violence, saying it has no place in the political process.
According to the police, Pea had previously made unannounced visits to the residences of two elected politicians while carrying what appeared to be paperwork proving his victory. In New Mexico in 2020 or 2022, there was no proof of significant voter fraud or any irregularity involving enough ballots to influence the outcome.
According to the criminal complaint, Pea employed two brothers who have not yet been identified by the authorities, along with a father and son who both had prior criminal convictions. Albuquerque police said they anticipate making additional arrests but have chosen not to elaborate.
A witness reportedly told detectives that one of the guys instructed the shooters to aim over the windows of the homes to avoid hitting anyone inside, according the complaint.
According to the witness, Pea wanted them to shoot at a lower elevation and made the other participants uncomfortable by demanding that the men act more aggressively.
Pea is charged with participating in the last shooting at state senator Linda Lopez‘s residence. According to the witness, one of the other men allegedly shot multiple bullets from a Glock pistol into the house where Lopez’s daughter was sleeping while Pea’s gun jammed and failed to fire correctly.
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