One of the two women accused of causing the dragging death of an 83-year-old man last year has pleaded guilty in connection with the crime.
Also, a prosecutor recently filed a pleading in District Court that indicated both women were laughing in the county jail’s booking area shortly after they were arrested.
In a hearing this week, Dolores Salazar, 19, of Albuquerque pleaded guilty to a charge of vehicular homicide as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, who, in return, dropped charges of felony murder, tampering with evidence and robbery.
The agreement didn’t indicate what type of sentence she would receive. It stated that the two sides would wait to see what happens to the other suspect, Jessie Livingston, 24, of Las Vegas.
The two women were charged in connection with the June 2007 killing of Jose Apodaca, a former postmaster and veteran of three wars.
According to police, Apodaca was dragged several feet after Livingston and Salazar asked him for money in the 1900 block of North Gonzales.
As the struggled continued, the women got into the car and drove away, with Apodaca somehow getting caught or holding on to the car, police said. Reports state that Livingston is an admitted heroin addict.
In a pleading earlier this year, Jeffrey Buckels, Livingston’s attorney, said the offense didn’t rise to the level of first-degree murder. He said there was no way his client knew that her actions “created a strong probability of murder,” citing the decisions of the state Supreme Court.
Buckels has contended that police haven’t reconstructed how Apodaca went from his wallet being snatched to lying injured in the street, stating that the victim was in “no apparent zone of danger.”
But last month, prosecutor Tom Clayton argued that Livingston’s crime rose to the level of felony murder. He cited a police report in which an officer witnessed both Salazar and Livingston laughing in the jail’s booking area as if nothing happened.
“The defendant’s actions and statements within hours after the incident reflect the defendant’s demeanor toward the incident, the victim and the aftermath,” Clayton stated.
Livingston’s laughing doesn’t support her argument that Apodaca’s death was an accident, the prosecutor said.
Livingston’s jury trial is set for August.