Six arrested in connection to killing of Española Valley graduate
A social media squabble and a case of mistaken identity ended in tragedy Oct. 4 when two vehicles opened fire on a blue Subaru that belonged to Angelyssa Montoya.
Inside the vehicle were Montoya, Rudy Trujillo, Monica Cordova and Cameron Martinez. Martinez, 18, who died of his gunshot wound.
The shooting occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. along State Road 68 in front of the Ohkay Hotel Casino.
New Mexico State Police had four suspects in custody Sunday, including Mark Hice, who authorities believe felt others were looking for him with the intent of shooting him. Fueled by that fear, he recruited some friends to help protect him by shooting anyone that he saw as a threat, a State Police press release states.
Three of the suspects surrendered themselves to New Mexico State Police, and one was arrested at home.
Hice and his girlfriend Brittany Garcia surrendered at the State Police Office in Albuquerque and confessed their part in the crime. Anton Martinez surrendered to State Police in Española early Sunday morning.
Alex Zamarron was arrested at his Española area home early Sunday morning.
The four victims were traveling northbound on SR 68, when Hice became concerned that Montoya’s vehicle was after him.
The occupants of the Subaru had no involvement with Hice and were targeted, according to State Police, “as a mistake.”
A call to E-911 by Montoya reported that she had been shot in the hand. All three survivors were treated for their wounds and released from local hospitals.
Andrea Dionysia drove by the scene shortly after police arrived, and described chaos and terror.
“I had driven by, and the cops had already gotten there,” Dionysia said. “I was driving in the southbound lane, and across the median, I could see that there was, to me it looked like a female cop or something holding somebody else down, and all I could hear was screaming.”
State Police set up a crime scene and diverted traffic during an on-scene investigation that lasted until nearly noon, Oct. 5.
Hice, riding in his girlfriend Brittany Garcia’s Kia with Anton Martinez and several other unnamed occupants, saw a Subaru driving toward him at a speed that he considered fast, decided the Subaru was a threat and then both he and Anton Martinez opened fire.
Zamarron, who was traveling in a second vehicle with other unnamed occupants, also fired at Montoya’s vehicle. According to the criminal complaint filed in Rio Arriba Magistrate court, the three suspects' weapons including a Glock 45, a Colt 1911 and a Mac-11.
A State Police press release states there may still be additional parties involved in the crime.
“We are still investigating further potential charges for any accomplices," the release state.
The press release states that no additional charges have been filed yet.
Mark Timothy Hice
Mark Hice, the alleged man behind the murder of Cameron Martinez, is a 22-year-old from Ojo Caliente. According to State Police, he was the one who arranged the plan with Anton Martinez and Zamarron to shoot anyone by whom he felt threatened.
For his alleged part in the death of Cameron Martinez and the wounding of three other people, Hice has been charged with first degree murder, three counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a capital offense and tampering with evidence. If convicted, Hice could be sentenced to life in prison.
According to documents filed with the Rio Arriba Magistrate Court on Tuesday, this isn’t the first time that the alleged perpetrator has brandished a gun or fired it from a vehicle.
New Mexico State Police assert in their criminal complaint that on August 18, 2018, Hice fired a black handgun at William and Mary Abeyta, and two other individuals who’s names were withheld from the report.
In this additional case, Hice is charged with one count of shooting from a motor vehicle, four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Hice has been in court before for battery of a household member and false imprisonment, stemming from a 2015 incident, those charges were dismissed. He’s also been arrested for a DWI, and even though he admitted using marijuana to the officer, marijuana was found in his possession and he voluntarily submitted to a blood test, the charges were dismissed by the prosecution, pending the result the blood test in 2017.
They were never refiled.
All the other charges in Hice’s history are petty offenses or traffic misdemeanors: fishing without a license, speeding, driving with a suspended license, failure to provide proof of insurance. Some of the charges were resolved with plea deals and or deferred sentences, but many were dismissed for lack of prosecution, or for failure to appear on the part of the prosecutor.
Hice’s brother, Christopher Hice took to social media Sunday night to defend him. Christopher Hice states his brother wasn’t paranoid. There were very real threats being made to his life over “drugs guns an (sic) money.”
He also said that Mark Hice regrets his actions.
“My brother feels like (expletive) because he knows it was the wrong person an (sic) he thought it was someone trying to hurt him,” Christopher Hice wrote.
“To the family we are very sorry for your loss but we want to let everyone know my brother was not a bad person,” he wrote. “He knows he did wrong an (sic) it won’t be the same but he is sorry an (sic) has convest (sic) to all his wrong doing… But to the lost ones (sic) family my family is sincerely sorry.”
Mark Hice’s social media pages show images of people brandishing firearms, calling him derogatory names and daring him to come to the “trap” or drug den.
Additional images and video show individuals with guns and a message, “1 for each of us come on P****.”
There has been no word yet on if those individuals will be charged with any sort of crime.
Hice is also charged with another slew of crimes following an incident that occurred in August.
New Mexico State Police did not respond to requests for comment on the new charges before press time.
Alex Zamarron of Espanola is the youngest of the four charged, just 17 years old when he allegedly used a semi-automatic handgun to pepper the blue Subaru in which Montoya, Cameron Martinez and the two other victims were riding.
He is charged with first degree murder, three counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a capital offense and tampering with evidence. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Zamarron has been in trouble before.
He was arrested Feb. 22 for threatening to conduct a school shooting at Española Valley High School. According to the Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan, Zamarron was no stranger to the court system and was on probation at that time.
He was also present for the June 28 death of Nicholas Kaye, where he was named as a victim, following a shooting at the Española Giant Gas Station in June.
If convicted for first degree murder, Zamarron will spend his life behind bars.
Anton Martinez, who State Police identified as a friend of Hice’s from Santa Cruz, is 19, and is charged with first degree murder, three counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a capital offense and tampering with evidence. If convicted, Hice could be sentenced to life in prison.
It was he, along with Hice, who State Police say opened fire from the Kia.
Anton Martinez has multiple traffic offenses on his record, but no previous violent crimes.
Brittany Garcia, the driver of the Kia in which Hice and Anton Martinez were riding when they opened fire on the Subaru, is a 21-year-old from Ojo Caliente.
For her part in the murder of Cameron Martinez, she has been charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a capital offense and tampering with evidence, third and fourth degree felonies respectively.
If convicted, she could spend three years in prison for the first charge, and up to an additional 18 months for the second.
'A bad guy'
Garcia’s grandfather Felix Fernandez said Sunday Garcia isn’t the kind of person you would expect to be involved in something as violent and senseless as the murder of Cameron Martinez, but nonetheless, she played an integral role in the violence.
Fernandez said it hasn’t always been this way, but he has been concerned about Garcia’s involvement with Hice for some time.
In fact, it was Garcia that posted Hice’s bail when he was arrested in Santa Fe County for one of his multiple driving offenses in 2015. That concern was magnified this summer when he visited his granddaughter and noticed a bullet hole in the wall of her home. He said Hice pulled a gun on Garcia at some point as well.
“Mark is a bad guy… I noticed that he fired a shot inside the house,” Fernandez said. “That guy’s a bad guy. Brittany is a nice kid you know, but she’s hanging around with the wrong people. I hope they lock Mark up for many years, he doesn’t belong in society, period.”