ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A verdict has been returned in the Izaiah Garcia trial. Monday, the jury reached a verdict that Garcia was guilty of first-degree murder of “depraved mind.” They also found Garcia guilty of aggravated assault. According to court documents, the definition of first-degree murder of depraved mind is “an act which the defendant knew was greatly dangerous to the lives of others indicating a depraved mind without regard for human life.”
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The trial was for the murder of 17-year-old Sean Markey, an innocent bystander at a 2019 homecoming party. Witnesses claimed Garcia showed up at the party to seek revenge on another teen. Instead, Markey is the one who was shot by a bullet that ricocheted. After a grueling two weeks of testimony and evidence, family members of Garcia and Markey sat in the courtroom today, anxiously awaiting Garcia’s fate.
“The jury has reached a verdict,” said Judge Brett Loveless before reading the jury’s verdict forms. “We find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder by an act greatly dangerous to the lives of others indicating a depraved mind without regard to human life.”
It’s a verdict that brings a sentence of life in prison here in New Mexico with no possibility of parole until at least 30 years. During the trial, prosecutors based most of their case on what witnesses saw and the fact that Garcia was seen firing a gun that night. What they didn’t have was the actual murder weapon or definitive evidence that it was his gun that fired the fatal shot. The state says despite some hiccups with the jury, this verdict is a success.
“Very pleased. At the end of the day, we have him convicted of first-degree murder by a depraved mind, act by a depraved mind,” said John Duran, assistant district attorney, serving as prosecution on behalf of the state, who also pointed out afterward that this is just one of many similar cases of reckless disregard, combined with gun violence in the community. “We can’t have these kinds of acts happening here in New Mexico. It happens way, way too often.”
Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez agrees. He says the next step moving forward is finding out how these teens are getting access to guns and stopping it.
“It’s not just that one kid brought a gun to this party. There were multiple guns at this house party and that’s totally unacceptable,” said Torrez. “Frustrated by the fact that we continue to see these types of crimes occurring and I think more can be done to make sure kids don’t get their hands on these types of guns.”
The jury did find Garcia not guilty of first-degree “willful, deliberate or premeditated” murder. However, the jury was instructed that if they did find him not guilty, they would need to determine a verdict of subsequent second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. They did not do either so the judge declared a mistrial on the second-degree murder charge. Garcia could be retried on that charge. However, given the depraved mind first-degree charge, his conviction carries at least 30 years in prison and it’s unlikely he will be retried. Duran says it’s something he’ll have to discuss with his co-counsel.
Garcia’s family and defense lawyers declined to talk on camera. Markey’s parents were there as the verdict was read and say while justice was served, it won’t bring their boy back.
“We’re just happy that Seany got justice today. It’s what we’ve all been praying for,” said Tara Ross, Sean Markey’s family member. “He was an amazing skateboarder and a great friend and a great brother and we miss him so much. We’ve been praying for justice for him and we’re glad we got it today.”
Sentencing for Garcia is set for 90 days from now. Until then, the now-20-year-old will continue to be held without bond.
Garcia still faces first-degree murder charges in the October 2019 death of Cayla Campos, who was at Bianchetti Park playing Pokemon Go. That trial is still scheduled for this December.