Marquez, 53, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Park County’s District Court Tuesday afternoon, admitting he “purposely and maliciously” shot and killed Guerra-Torres sometime between Dec. 15, 2013, and Jan. 8, 2014. Though it was not brought up in court, prosecutors have alleged that Marquez later dismembered Guerra-Torres’ body with an ax in an attempt to keep his remains from being identified.
District Court Judge Steven Cranfill accepted a plea deal reached between Park County prosecutors and Marquez’s defense team and sentenced Marquez to 25 to 35 years in prison. The deal was abruptly agreed upon only hours before Cranfill imposed the sentence; the case had been set to go to trial in October on a first-degree, or premeditated, murder charge.
Two longtime family friends of Marquez, siblings Sandra and Pedro Garcia Jr., previously pleaded guilty for different roles in the murder. Pedro Garcia, 30, told authorities that he had asked Marquez to kill Guerra-Torres, explaining that Guerra-Torres owed $30,000-$40,000 to dangerous drug dealers in Mexico who were threatening their family; Pedro Garcia said it was Sandra Garcia’s idea to “take care of” Guerra-Torres, her long-time boyfriend. By Pedro Garcia’s account, Marquez agreed to kill Guerra-Torres for a small amount of methamphetamine and cash, but Marquez testified Tuesday that he committed the murder in the belief that his own family was in danger.
“I know what I did was wrong, now I’ve got to suffer the consequences. But I was led to believe my son and my grandchildren were in danger and that Pedro Garcia’s father and his mother [also…
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