ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The couple charged with killing a mother and daughter while fleeing in a stolen car, faced a judge on Friday to see if their case will go to trial. This case was held in limbo for years while the Supreme Court ruled if they could be tried for murder.

Elexus Groves and Paul Garcia were accused of stealing a van in January 2017, and while they were running from police, they crashed into another car, killing 14-year-old Shaylee Boling, and her mother Shaunna Arredondo-Boling.

“When I walked up, I could hear a person moaning,” said Sgt. Whitener, who responded to the scene of the crash moments after it happened. “I moved the side airbag out of the way and I could see a female, I never saw her face.” Sgt. Whitener remembers, “she was trying to make fists with both of her hands, just groaning and gasping for air,” said Whitener during the preliminary hearing.

Groves and Garcia were charged with first-degree murder in the case, but that charge was dismissed back in 2018 by Judge Brett Lovelace, who said it didn’t fit the crime. The state appealed that decision. In November of last year, the Supreme Court ruled a person who causes death while fleeing law enforcement could face prosecution for first-degree murder.

Today, a number of key witnesses told the court what they saw, one witness recalls almost being t-boned by Groves on his way to work. “I was going down Juan Tabo, north,” said Mark Chavez, a witness in the case. “I saw a flash out of my eye, and I saw another construction van coming down. If I would have continued, it would have 100-percent t-boned me,” said Chavez during his witness testimony.

The state presented a motion to replace the first-degree murder charge with an alternative charge of first-degree murder with a deprived mind. The District Attorney’s Office says that means an act is done without regard for the safety of others in a dangerous manner, that could result in death. That motion was denied.

They did not finish the preliminary hearing Friday afternoon. A time to finish the hearing has not been scheduled.