Two of four defendants were sentenced Monday in a homicide case that a local judge said “showed some of the darkest sides of what one could imagine in humanity.”
The hearings bring to a close the cases against Stephanie Stepp, 27, and Joshua Taramasco, 31, both accused in the drug- and revenge-driven killing of Tiffany Boyer, who was beaten to death with a hammer in August 2015. The two testified during the January trial for William Paul Alexander, whom prosecutor Michael Fricke called the “primary bad actor” in the case. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and lesser charges.
Stepp, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, conspiracy and kidnapping, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Taramasco, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, received an eight-year sentence.
Police have said that Boyer was targeted because the group believed she played a role in the death of their friend, Robert “Machete Bob” McGuire, who was killed, possibly with a crossbow, shortly after Boyer accused him of rape.
In an interview after the hearing, Fricke said prosecutors believe Boyer was taken to a home in Northeast Albuquerque on Aug. 19, 2015, where she and her boyfriend were held for hours and locked in a closet.
Alexander arrived at the home later, Fricke said, and his presence “changed the tenor of the whole thing.” He encouraged Stepp to hurt and kill Boyer, Fricke said. Stepp pummeled her, fracturing her face, and attempted to strangle her before Alexander ultimately used a hammer to deal the final blows, prosecutors said.
Fricke said in court that he believed Taramasco’s testimony during Alexander’s trial “pushed us over the edge to a conviction.” And 2nd Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless, who is handling all four defendants’ cases, agreed.
“I think but for his testimony, there probably would not have been a conviction of Mr. Alexander,” Loveless said during Taramasco’s hearing Monday morning.
Fricke said Taramasco, who had a rifle, zip-tied Boyer’s boyfriend’s hands and put him in the closet.
Taramasco’s attorney told the judge that Taramasco has shown remorse for the role he played.
Boyer’s father, Blair Boyer, told Loveless that his daughter was a strong-willed, sassy mother of two who loved helping people and was loved by many. But, he said, she had fallen in with the wrong people.
“She never had the chance to take a different path in her life because of the actions that were taken by these individuals,” Blair Boyer said. “That opportunity, that chance for a better life was taken from her.”
The fourth person convicted in the case, Shawna Cannon, who also pleaded guilty to kidnapping, is set for sentencing in March. Alexander’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for early April.