Closing arguments held on day 8 of Izaiah Garcia trial; case going to jury for decision

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  The jury is now deliberating the future of the man accused of fatally shooting a teen during a homecoming party two years ago. Izaiah Garcia, 20, is facing first-degree murder, depraved mind murder and aggravated assault for his role in the 2019 shooting.

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Garcia is accused of shooting 17-year-old Sean Markey outside a party. The prosecution spent much of the past two weeks talking to witnesses who say they saw Garcia fire a gun and knew about his beef with someone at the party that night — the person they say was his intended target when he opened fire. They say that testimony and the physical and scientific evidence are enough to convict Garcia of first-degree murder with intent.

“We know he confronted Christian Mattock, he points his gun Superman-style, and he starts shooting at him multiple times, striking the pavement and hitting Sean Markey. He left that out to APD and he left that out to you,” said John Duran, assistant district attorney for the State of New Mexico, serving as the prosecution on this case. “At the end of the day, he killed a boy who was just waiting for his ride. This admits to you the defendant is guilty and we ask you to find him as such.”

It’s been almost two years since Markey was killed outside of a house party near Eubank and Montgomery on Sept. 29, 2019. A big piece of the trial was the large array of shell casings fired from multiple guns in the area. Detectives were trying to narrow down which was related to the victim’s fatal bullet and if that was also from the gun they say Garcia fired — despite detectives admitting to never recovering the murder weapon. While the prosecution said it comes down to science, the defense pleaded to the jury Friday that it’s not enough to convict.

“When you look closely and critically at the evidence, which is your job as a juror, the evidence just does not fit and doesn’t answer the question as to who killed Sean Markey,” said Nicole Moss, defense attorney for Garcia. “The evidence points in so many different directions, just as there were so many different shooters that night.”

The defense also took aim at the case’s homicide detective during their closings. This morning, Det. Sarah Kastendieck — who now serves with APD’s Internal Affairs investigations — took the stand, saying they didn’t contact everyone who was at the party, despite having a list of names from the host and admitted to possibly not listening to all 911 calls from that night. Garcia’s defense attorneys say there’s a good possibility there were witnesses who could’ve proved Garcia’s innocence and directed the investigation to other suspects, had they been interviewed.

“All the names that we talked about,” said Kari Morrissey, a defense attorney for Garcia as she questioned Det. Sarah Kastendieck again. “How do you know if they witnessed anything if you didn’t talk to them?”

Garcia faces charges of first-degree murder, depraved mind murder and aggravated assault. The defense was able to have a tampering with evidence charge tossed out Thursday. The case has now gone to the jury for deliberations and a verdict, and will likely go through Monday at the least. The jury has been set home for the weekend and will resume deliberations on Monday.

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