TIERRA AMARILLA, N.M. — A New Mexico man could face up to 50 years in prison after being convicted of injecting a woman with heroin and throwing her off a bridge into the Rio Grande in February 2020.
Authorities said the woman survived by floating down the river to get to a riverbank and seeking help at a nearby home.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that 47-year-old Brenton Rael was found guilty Thursday a Rio Arriba County jury after a three-day trial in Tierra Amarilla.
He was convicted on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, battery, assault, robbery, conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm and acquitted of tampering with evidence.
Rael, of Petaca, was one of three suspects accused of kidnapping the woman, drenching her in bleach, drugging her to make her death look like an overdose and then tossing her into the river near Española.
According to the New Mexican, the three suspects allegedly the woman because she was friends with someone who had stolen drugs from Rael.
His sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet, but prosecutors told the newspaper that Rael could get more than 50 years in prison.
Rael’s two co-defendants both pleaded guilty to reduced charges prior to his trial. One got an eight-year prison term and the other is facing a prison sentence of between four and eight years.