Third suspect in deadly shooting involving former NMSU basketball player takes plea deal

Third suspect in deadly shooting involving former NMSU basketball player takes plea deal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KTSM) – Eli’sha Upshaw, one of three University of New Mexico students charged with multiple felonies in relation to a deadly self-defense shooting in November of 2022 that also involved a former New Mexico State men’s basketball player, has taken a plea deal in the case, KTSM learned on Thursday, April 18.

Upshaw was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including counts of aggravated battery, conspiracy, and tampering with evidence, in December of 2022 for his alleged role in the shooting and has been living in Maryland and abiding by the conditions of his release.

He appeared virtually during a change of plea hearing Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. He faces up to four years in prison for his role in the deadly shooting. He is the third person to take a plea deal regarding the case.

Upshaw initially pleaded not guilty and was scheduled for trial later this year.

Prosecutors in the case requested co-conspirator Jonathan Smith be formally sentenced at the same hearing as Upshaw, which is expected to occur in 60 days. Prosecutors said Mike Peake is expected to travel to the hearing and testify against Smith and Upshaw during the sentencing hearing.

Upshaw was one of four UNM students who are alleged by police to have conspired to assault former NMSU men’s basketball player Mike Peake early on the morning of Nov. 19, 2022. The incident then turned into a shooting investigation.

The deadly shooting left Peake injured and 19-year-old University of New Mexico student Brandon Travis dead.

According to police, Travis and fellow UNM students Jonathan Smith and Upshaw allegedly wanted revenge against Peake for a fight at the Oct. 15, 2022, football game between UNM and NMSU in Las Cruces.

The three men allegedly lured Peake to UNM’s campus with the help of 17-year-old female UNM student Mya Hill in the early morning hours of Nov. 19 – the same day NMSU and UNM were supposed to play the Battle of I-25 rivalry game at The Pit.

According to Hill’s statement to police, she told Peake that she would have sex with him to get him to come to campus. Once he arrived, Smith, Travis, and Upshaw could be seen on surveillance footage running up behind Peake. Travis pulls a gun out and points it in Peake’s face, and Upshaw is alleged to be the person who assaults him with a baseball bat.

When Peake tried to run away, Travis chased after him; Peake then pulled out his gun, and surveillance footage showed the two men exchanging gunfire. Police say Travis shot first and that Peake acted in self-defense; Travis was shot four times and died from his injuries, while Peake was shot once in the leg.

The three other UNM students – Hill, Smith, and Upshaw – were all arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated battery and conspiracy. Smith took a plea deal in January of 2023; Hill took a plea deal of her own in August of 2023.

Police and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office ruled that Peake acted in self-defense. Neither Peake, nor anyone else affiliated with New Mexico State University, were charged with a crime related to the shooting in Albuquerque in November of 2022.

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