ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Prosecutors say new evidence against a man accused of murdering a teenage driver in a case of mistaken identity shows just how dangerous and careless he really is.
Mark Hice is accused of killing 18-year-old Cameron Martinez but uncovered Facebook messages and new witness testimony are now changing the case.
Hice was originally charged with first degree, premeditated murder. But during the investigation, prosecutors found Facebook messages from Hice in which he said, “he has guns for the purpose of getting in a shootout”.
Prosecutors argue, “It is common knowledge that innocent bystanders may be hit by shots fired in a shootout”.
In another message, prosecutors say Hice explicitly said he was planning on killing people who had been threatening him.
Back in July, Savannah Garcia, who was with Hice the night of the shooting, gave a pretrial interview. She told the court that she, and Brittany Garcia who is facing first-degree murder charges, told Hice that “he cannot be sure that the vehicle approaching them belongs to the individuals Hice thinks it does”.
To which, she says he replied, “I’m not going to let them shoot me first, not this time”. She then says, “Hice begins shooting “really fast” an estimated 30-35 times”.
After learning about the new evidence, prosecutors amended the charges against Hice to murder in the first degree (depraved mind). That charge is meant specifically for people who are intending to kill someone and are acting with no regard for human life.
Prosecutors say this strengthens their case because even though Hice didn’t hit his intended target, he did intend to kill whoever was inside the car he was openly shooting at, while on a busy highway. It just happened to be the wrong people.
Martinez was killed and three of his friends were wounded. Hice is expected to go to trial next year.
The other people with Hice are still facing first-degree murder charges. It’s not clear if their charges will also be changed.