Elena Pena, 27, accused of instigating the confrontation that ended in Paul Russell’s death last October, won’t face trial for aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Instead, she entered a guilty plea and will be expected to testify against her boyfriend, Lyle Croson, and co-defendant Mykle Blumenshine, according to an agreement entered in court last week. If approved by the judge after a pre-sentence investigation, the deal would send Pena to prison for four years.
And Judge Steven Hippler revoked Pena’s $500,000 bond, ensuring that Pena will still be in custody when Croson and Blumenshine’s scheduled trial date, May 15, rolls around. Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu requested that Pena’s sentencing be set for June, after the two men’s trial, and all parties agreed on a June 12 date.
Pena, arrested for aiding and abetting aggravated battery before Russell was declared dead, reportedly called Croson and Blumenshine to the scene of an Oct. 20 confrontation with another man who called friends, including Russell, to come pick him up. When Russell and another man got out of their car, the two men Pena called opened fire, Akamatsu said at a previous hearing. Russell later died of a single gunshot wound.
Pena and Croson were arrested at a Boise gas station the day after the shooting, and it appeared they were preparing to leave town, the prosecutor said.
As Russell, 30, lay gravely wounded, Pena reportedly laughed and said “I told you so,” Akamatsu said in October.
At her March 24 plea hearing, Pena agreed with the allegations that she lied to Garden City police when she said she hadn’t seen the shooting and didn’t know the men had guns.
The plea deal requires her to meet with Garden City investigators and truthfully answer questions about the killing, and to testify in court.
“I am guilty,” she said.