Murder co-defendant enters plea


ALAMOSA—Probably the first in a case with multiple co-defendants to plead out, Theodora Travers, 29, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to felony tampering with evidence in connection to the 2016 death of Floyd Dale McBride, 52.

Travers admitted to wiping up a pool of blood after McBride was shot last summer. McBride ultimately died as a result of the June 23, 2016 shooting, for which Lonnie Cooper, 43, is charged. Multiple co-defendants including Travers were charged with counts such as conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

In providing details to support her plea on Tuesday, Travers’ attorney Raymond Miller said Travers herself was kidnapped during an ongoing episode with Cooper. Miller said Travers was at the home where Cooper allegedly shot McBride, and she assisted in mopping up a pool of blood that would have been evidence, which supported the charge of tampering with physical evidence.

At the request of Miller and Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig, District Judge Michael Gonzales dismissed other charges against Travers in this case. Judge Gonzales scheduled sentencing for August 21 and advised Travers that the fact she was on bond in another case when this one occurred created a mandatory aggravator, requiring him to sentence her to at least a year. The sentence could be as much as three years, he added.

The attorneys had initially included in the plea agreement that Travers would serve her sentence in this case concurrently with a sentence she is serving for an older burglary case. However, Judge Gonzales said he would not be bound by that, so the attorneys revised the plea agreement to reflect that. The judge asked Travers if she understood he would not commit to a concurrent sentence and she said she understood and wished to proceed with a plea anyway.

As part of this plea, Travers signed a three-page agreement that she would cooperate and provide truthful testimony if needed. Saying that was an agreement with the DA, the judge did not make that agreement part of the record.

McCuaig told the judge the DA’s office believed this plea was appropriate. He said it held Travers accountable for her actions while availing her of the opportunity to testify and seek justice for other individuals.

He added that the victim’s family was opposed to any reduction of charges in Travers’ case. He said the need for plea agreements was explained to them, and he felt comfortable moving forward with the plea. None of the victim’s family was present at the plea hearing, but Judge Gonzales told Travers they had the right to make a statement to the court during the sentencing if they wished to.

Judge Gonzales accepted Travers’ plea, dismissed other counts in this case and vacated the warrant associated with this case so Travers could be sent to the Department of Corrections, something she requested when she was re-sentenced last month for violating probation on a 2015 burglary case.

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