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Woman gets 12 years in landlord’s killing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque woman involved in the gruesome murder of her 65-year-old landlord was sentenced Monday afternoon to 12 years in prison.

Annie Rael, 29 (MDC)

Prosecutors say Annie Rael teamed up with her friend, Alissa Bickett, and Bickett’s son, Drake, to kill Marilyn Gandert, who had recently evicted the group from a home on Taylor Ridge NW, near Coors and MontaƱo.

Gandert was Alissa Bickett’s mother-in-law and Drake Bickett’s grandmother. Her body was discovered the next day, burned on a mesa west of Rio Rancho.

In district court on Monday, Rael told Judge Cindy Leos that she regrets her involvement that day.

“I’m not a killer,” she said. “Had I not been where I was, under the influence of the drugs I was under, this never would have happened. And I have a lot of remorse for everybody that was involved.”

According to court documents, after the Bicketts and Rael were evicted, Gandert had been going to the home to unlock the doors so they could move their belongings. A neighbor overheard an argument at the home on Jan. 26. And the next day, Gandert’s charred remains were discovered on the mesa.

Prosecutor Michael Fricke said in court that Rael admitted that she was the first to attack Gandert, “at a nod from Alissa Bickett,” who soon joined in the beating with a small club. Drake Bickett ultimately stabbed Gandert, causing her death.

Her body was hauled to the West Side and set on fire. Medical investigators reported that she had multiple stab wounds and blunt force injuries, according to court documents.

Rael pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder and conspiracy in an agreement that required her to testify against the Bicketts.

Alissa and Drake Bickett have since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy. Alissa Bickett pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with evidence. They are set for sentencing next month.