DENVER (CBS4) – A judge told a woman who helped in a Pueblo murder-for-hire plot that she is fortunate that he sent her to prison for only 2 1/2-years.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer in Denver told Reina Ashley Gonzales that she “could be in jail 10 years and would deserve it.”
She had admitted she helped Ricardo “Rico” Estevan Suazo try to hire a hit man last September to kill a another Pueblo man for $10,000.
The intended victim was going to be a witness in a Pueblo District Court against him. Suazo had shot him last July during a carjacking.
The plot fell apart. A Pueblo detective heard about it and, posing undercover as a potential hit man, began talking over the phone with Gonzales and Suazo, who was in jail.
Gonzales, 29, earlier had talked with Suazo, 26, from jail about his requests, and her willingness, to help him with the plot. The conversations, using code language, were recorded at the jail.
“That is beyond belief,” Brimmer said, calling the conversations, “sheer idiocy.”
Gonzales and Suazo pleaded guilty in deals with the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Weber. Suazo is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
Weber, in a court document, recommended that the judge impose a low sentence on Gonzales because she tried to withdraw from the conspiracy and because “her criminal history lacks the violence of many other defendants before this Court, and it pales in comparison to Suazo’s criminal history.”
Gonzales pleaded guilty in March to conspiring with Suazo. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities (telephone) in the commission of murder-for-hire.
Investigators said Suazo was in the Surenos East Side Dukes violent gang.