A New Mexico woman was convicted for the murder of her ex-husband after an elaborate hitman plot went awry. Cristal Cardenas, 34, was found guilty of one count of murder in the first degree, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and one count of criminal solicitation by Doña Ana County jurors, though she was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge.
Doña Ana County
- Cardenas and her boyfriend wanted her ex dead. Police and prosecutors say that Cardenas and her then-boyfriend, 36-year-old Luis Flores, looked for a hitman to kill her ex-boyfriend and father of her child, 34-year-old Mario Cabral and his 32-year-old girlfriend, Vennessa Rodriguez Mora.
- The hitman plot went seriously wrong. Edward Alonzo said he was hired to kill Cabral and agreed on $10,000 to do the job. However, he was only paid $3,000 by Cardenas. He was then arrested on an unrelated charge and decided to talk to police in order to try and get a plea deal to spend less time behind bars.
- Cardenas and Flores took matters into their own hands. On the night of March 25, 2018, Cardenas and Flores decided to end the lives of Cabral and Rodriguez Mora themselves, shooting them to death and leaving them for Rodriguez Mora’s teenage daughter to find the following morning. The daughter later told the court that she’d heard gunshots the night before but hid in the bed and tried to convince herself she was simply having a bad dream.
- Cabral and Rodriguez Mora were discovered in a pool of blood. At that point, the daughter ran across the street to a neighbor’s house and called police, the Las Cruces Sun News reports.
- The crime was “meticulously planned,” according to assistant district attorney Arif Abrar. Cardenas and Flores perform surveillance on Cabral’s house so that they could break in when he went to sleep, but Flores is the one who reportedly wielded the weapon. He’s said to have shot Cabral once before shooting Mora Rodriguez three times, then turning the weapon back to Cabral and shooting him six times in the groin.
- Why did Cardenas want Cabral dead so badly? According to prosecutors, Cabral had recently come into a lot of money from a legal settlement. He’d also recently signed the house into his and Cardenas’s daughter’s name, so if he died, she could move into Cabral’s home with her child and live there.
Cardenas’s sentencing date has not yet been announced. Flores will go on trial in April.