Fatal crash nets 6 years - Albuquerque Journal

Fatal crash nets 6 years

Paul Garcia testifies in the trial of Elexus Groves in August. Garcia was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for his role in a 2017 crash that killed a woman and her daughter. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A man was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for his role in a 2017 crash that killed an Albuquerque woman and her 14-year-old daughter in a foothills neighborhood.

Paul Anthony Garcia, 29, was the passenger in a stolen van that plowed into a car, killing Shauna Arredondo-Boling, 39, and her daughter, Shaylee Boling, a Sandia High School freshman.

A 2nd Judicial District Court jury found the van’s driver, Elexus Groves, guilty in August of two counts of vehicular homicide and other charges, but acquitted her of more serious first-degree murder charges.

Groves faces up to 25½ years in prison. A judge is scheduled to sentence her on Nov. 2.

Arredondo-Boling was driving her daughter to school on Jan. 18, 2017, when the van, travelling nearly 80 mph, slammed into their car at Chelwood Park and Copper NE.

Shaylee Boling died at the scene. Her mother died 13 days later, having never regained consciousness. Arredondo-Boling’s 3-year-old son was hospitalized with a broken leg.

Garcia entered a plea agreement on July 20, about three weeks before the start of Groves’ trial. The agreement required Garcia to testify in Groves’ trial.

Under the agreement, Garcia pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident and conspiracy. Judge Brett Loveless handed down the six-year prison sentence recommended in the agreement.

Garcia has been held at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center since February 2017. Under the law, he will receive credit for 1,722 days of pretrial custody, leaving a maximum 468 days to serve, said Lauren Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Loveless allowed Garcia to serve the remainder of his sentence at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

No family members spoke at Garcia’s sentencing hearing, but Garcia issued a brief apology prior to his sentencing. “I am terribly sorry for all the wrongs that I’ve done in this case and all those I have hurt,” Garcia said.

Garcia and Groves stole a workman’s van and were fleeing from police when it crashed into Arredondo-Boling’s car. The two fled the scene after the crash and later stole a second vehicle while trying to evade police, according to testimony in Groves’ trial.

Garcia told jurors in August that he injected Groves with methamphetamine the morning of the crash, making her highly agitated. The two tried to burglarize vehicles, then stole the unattended van idling in front of a house.

Garcia’s testimony differed from the narrative Groves told jurors when she testified in her own defense. Garcia testified that he told Groves to pull over when police attempted to stop the van on Tramway NE.

By contrast, Groves testified that Garcia urged her to flee police and that she believed Garcia had a gun in a backpack that he didn’t want police to find. Garcia denied having a gun.

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