This afternoon a jury found Elexus Groves guilty of homicide by vehicle by reckless driving, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident, great bodily injury by vehicle by reckless driving, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, and conspiracy to commit unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Groves could face up to 25 and 1/2 years in prison; her sentencing will take place within 60 days.
Groves is responsible for the death of Shaunna Arrendondo-Boling and her 14-year-old daughter Shaylee Boling after Groves ran a stop sign and crashed into Boling’s vehicle at 68 mph in 2017.
After a district court judge dropped the initial murder charges against Groves, our office appealed the decision in 2018, and the Supreme Court reversed and allowed the murder charge to go to the jury. In New Mexico, however, felony murder requires proof of an intent to kill or its equivalent. The jury did not find that Groves had this intent. Although Groves was convicted of vehicular homicide, New Mexico does not provide for any enhanced penalty for aggravated fleeing of law enforcement that results in death or great bodily harm.
“The jury’s verdict in this case highlights a gap in our criminal laws that poses a significant risk to public safety. Too many times in this city we see criminals fleeing the police at high speeds and endangering the public,” said Raul Torrez, Bernalillo County District Attorney. “We should have a law that holds criminals responsible when they injure or kill someone while racing down our streets as they flee from the police.”
Paul Garcia, who pled guilty to four charges including two counts of unlawful taking of a vehicle and conspiracy to unlawfully take a vehicle for his involvement in this crime, testified about Groves’ crimes.