DA: Plea deal in the works for mother of boy slain in Nambé
Tracy Ann Peña, the mother of slain 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia and a defendant in a child abuse case related to his death, is working on a plea deal with state prosecutors, District Attorney Marco Serna said Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, Peña’s lawyer issued a surprise filing in the case, vacating her appearance at a hearing set for Wednesday. The hearing would have been a platform for Peña’s lawyer to argue why she should not be kept in jail pending trial in the case.
Peña’s public defender, Michael Rosenfield, wrote in a motion to vacate the hearing: “Parties have reached an agreement in principle which would require Ms. Peña to remain in custody.”
Serna confirmed by email that his office is in plea discussions with Peña.
“Hopefully we’ll have something by the end of the week, Rosenfield told a New Mexican reporter Tuesday. “Nothing has been finalized.”
Peña and a codefendant in the case, 20-year-old Jordan Nuñez, are both facing child abuse and tampering with evidence charges in relation to Jeremiah’s alleged torture and eventual death in a home near Nambé last November.
Thomas Ferguson, Peña’s boyfriend and Nuñez’s father, was charged with first-degree murder in the boy’s death. Ferguson killed himself in jail in April while awaiting trial on the charges.
Prosecutors now say new evidence points to Nuñez delivering the fatal blow to Jeremiah. Nuñez could face additional charges in the boy’s death, prosecutors say in court filings. No additional charges have been filed yet.
According to one of Nuñez’s attorneys, Theresa Duncan, Nuñez will be present at Wednesday’s evidentiary hearing, where his defense team is expected to argue that he is not dangerous enough to hold in jail until trial in the case.