One of the three teenagers arrested in connection to the murder of a taxi cab driver nearly two years ago was given a prison sentence Monday in Yuma County Superior Court for her role in the crime.

Jada Rose Herrera, 18, who arranged the cab ride, but did not know the murder was going to happen, was sentenced by Yuma County Superior Court Judge Roger Nelson to 3.5 years in prison for aggravated robbery.

In handing down the sentence Nelson also gave Herrera credit for 469 days which she has already served. She pled guilty to the offense in a plea agreement with prosecutors in December.

Herrera, who was 17-years-old at the time, had initially been charged with 1st-degree murder, conspiracy, theft of means of transportation, and armed robbery with a deadly weapon in the shooting death of 55-year-old Guillermo Sotelo, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Son. Mexico. 

Those charges were dismissed in return for her guilty plea to the aggravated robbery charge.

Also charged in connection to the killing are Hailey Dawn Hoover and Tyrus Nathan Twist, who were both also minors at the time. They are now being tried as adults as well.

Hoover, who remains in custody at the Yuma County jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond, has a change-of-plea or trial setting hearing scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 9. Twist, who pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder and armed robbery in a plea agreement on Monday, is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 2.

Sotelo, who was a driver for Crazy 8’s Taxi Company, was reported missing early in the morning of July 30 to the Yuma Police Department. He was believed to have been en route to Somerton to pick up a passenger.

His body was found the next day, lying a short distance off U.S. 95 near milepost 16, shot at least once. The taxi, which had a flat tire, was found at about 7:10 p.m. on Aug. 7 in an alley near 28th Street and Avenue A in Yuma.

Somerton police reported that they discovered information leading to the identification of two suspects, Hoover and 16-year-old Tyrus Nathan Twist. They were taken into custody a few days later after a short pursuit by Somerton and Cocopah Police Departments into Somerton.

Phone records helped authorities connect Herrera, to the case. She was jailed in September 2018, charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. 

The defendants are accused of killing Sotelo and robbing him of $30. The decision to try all three as adults was made before any of them turned 18.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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