ALAMOSA — “You are the first person who’s talked about Mr. McBride that he was a human being,” District Judge Michael Gonzales told Theodora Travers, 29, when he sentenced her on Wednesday for her part in the June 2016 death of Floyd Dale McBride, 52.
Travers pleaded guilty in April to felony tampering with evidence — wiping up a pool of blood after McBride was shot last summer. On Wednesday, Judge Gonzales sentenced her to 18 months in the Department of Corrections (DOC) concurrent to a sentence she is already serving on an unrelated case.
“You are a different person than you were in March. You are healthier. You look better all around. You are not bouncing off the walls,” Judge Gonzales told Travers, who told him she has been drug free since January.
Travers had requested a sentence to DOC and thanked the judge for sending her there earlier this year. She said she has taken advantage of classes and treatment and wants to continue her treatment after her release “so that I can move on in my life, be a better mother to my children and eventually go home to where I am from in Hawaii and have a good life.”
She said she did not want to be paroled homeless back to Alamosa, where her options would be limited, so she is trying to line up other options elsewhere for when she is released “somewhere fresh that’s not here in Alamosa County.”
Travers apologized for her part in the McBride case.
“For my actions in the past it led to an unjustified death, and I am truly, truly, truly sorry for that, and I am sorry for his family and I am sorry to him,” she said.
She added that although she only knew McBride for a few hours, “he was kind and he was a very nice person to everybody around him, and I am truly sorry that what happened had happened, and I hope however I can continue to help bring peace and justice to him and his family I am glad to do it.”
Travers has cooperated and has agreed to continue to cooperate with the prosecution in this case. If for some reason she does not cooperate with the district attorney’s office in the future, her concurrent sentences could become consecutive, Judge Gonzales told her.
Her attorney Raymond Miller and Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig had agreed to recommend a concurrent sentence in this case, which the judge granted but made clear before the sentencing he was not bound to do.
McCuaig said the DOC sentence was appropriate because Travers would have access to more tools to be successful when she is released.
He said Travers had cooperated and had taken responsibility for her actions in this case, which could be argued were conducted under duress. McCuaig related to the judge the background:
He said Travers had been present at McBride’s residence when Brian Cooper and McBride got into an altercation and McBride stabbed Cooper. Travers then left McBride’s apartment and she and a friend went to the park to sleep. The next morning she and her friend were held at gunpoint by Lonnie Cooper who asked her if she could identify the person who stabbed his son Brian. She was with Lonnie Cooper when he went to the residence where McBride had gone after the stabbing, and she ducked out of sight when the shooting occurred, McCuaig related. She then helped clean up blood at the scene and drove the van with Lonnie Cooper in the passenger seat and McBride in the back to the Cooper residence where McBride ultimately died. McCuaig said Travers, who was homeless, stayed at the Cooper residence for about a month afterwards.
McCuaig added that Travers had said she was afraid of Lonnie Cooper and believed he let her stay at his residence as a means of keeping an eye on her after the shooting.
She has since cooperated with law enforcement as her way of making amends for her actions, McCuaig said.
Miller said Travers’ homeless situation had been the result of her drug addiction. He said it was Travers’ choice to ask for a DOC sentence so she could get the help she needed for her addiction, which she appeared to have done.
Judge Gonzales said he was much more impressed with Travers now than in the spring when she first went to DOC, and he believed she had changed in the meantime.
The fact she felt sorry for her part in McBride’s death “says a lot for what’s happened to you and the changes you have made in your life and the kind of person you are,” Judge Gonzales said. “You are a different person than you were when I sentenced you. You seemed to have thought about your life and where you want to go, and I hope you get to where you need to be.”
He added that Travers’ cooperation in this case helped the family reach some closure.