Aurora Rodriguez-Perez made the plea Wednesday to second-degree murder in the May 8 killing of Steven Gale, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Under a plea agreement, she would have to serve 20 years in prison before being eligible for parole. A sentencing date was not immediately set.
She told Washoe District Judge Patrick Flanagan that she drove her boyfriend, his brother and a 13-year-old boy with gang ties around Reno and Carson City so they could rob people at gun point. Gale, 25, a musician, was shot while walking home with two friends on California Avenue.
Jacob Sanchez, 21, and his brother Luis, 19, were scheduled to stand trial in April on murder and robbery charges for their roles in the spree. Rodriguez-Perez was expected to testify against them as part of her plea agreement, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karl Hall said.
Jose Cruz, 13, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
Court records show Rodriguez-Perez was an unemployed mother of two children, ages 2 and 5, who collected welfare and lived with the brothers in an apartment on Lewis Street. Because their rent was due and they had no money, they decided to rob random pedestrians, according to affidavits filed to support their arrests.
During the four-hour crime spree, they allegedly robbed people of shoes, a cellphone, a bottle of beer and a backpack of dirty gym clothes. Authorities said they also stopped at a Walmart store in Carson City, where they were caught on surveillance video in the parking lot after shoplifting a bottle of alcohol.
The older Sanchez is accused of firing the fatal shot after Gale struggled with Cruz, who was trying to rob Gale’s friend of her purse. Gale was a member of the local soul and funk band, Soulitude. Gale’s male friend was struck in the head, likely with the butt of one of the suspects’ firearms, police said.
Gale’s family has said the three friends were unaware that the suspects were armed when the struggle over the woman’s purse began.