NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A man has taken a plea deal for his role in the deadly shooting of a stranded motorist. Erick Garcia has pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the second degree, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and aggravated burglary.
On Saturday, September 25, 2021, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting near the Route 66 Casino and found a man dead at the scene. According to the criminal complaint, Garcia and his accomplice, Edgar Orona Camacho, shot and killed Esteban Mercado-Rangel after helping him jump his car’s battery.
The victim’s juvenile sister was with him at the time and was forced into the car by the two men following the shooting. The girl escaped and later identified the suspects in a photo lineup. In October 2021, police arrested Garcia for stealing a car and connected him to Mercado-Rangel’s murder.
Along with the charges he pleaded guilty to, Garcia was initially charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, tampering with evidence, abuse of a child, and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, but those were dismissed in the plea deal. Garcia admitted to burglarizing a gun shop days before the murder and plotting a carjacking. For the charges in his plea deal, Garcia is facing up to 14 years in prison for his role in the murder.
Camacho pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping in July 2023 and has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, followed by two years of parole. Garcia’s sentencing date has not yet been set.