A Santa Fe County grand jury has downgraded a murder charge against a teen accused of fatally shooting his mother’s boyfriend in April to a count of voluntary manslaughter.
The case against 16-year-old Hunter Woods of Santa Fe is moving through the juvenile court system, though state prosecutors have asked that he be charged as an adult in the April 29 shooting of Ricardo Magana, 39, who died from his injuries weeks later.
Woods is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Thursday, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Woods’ mother called 911 just after midnight April 29, reporting that her boyfriend had tried to attack her with a bat at their Lorca Drive apartment and that her son had intervened, firing a warning shot with a shotgun and then shooting Magana in the abdomen.
Santa Fe police say Woods, who had turned 16 the day before the shooting, then fled with the firearm in his mother’s car.
Woods was arrested May 7 after a nine-day search.
Police suspect that while he was eluding officers, Woods was involved in two other shootings in the city that did not result in injuries. Woods has not been charged in those shootings. Police said evidence is still being gathered in the cases.
Magana was hospitalized for nearly three weeks before dying from his injuries May 19.
Following his death, juvenile court records show, the District Attorney’s Office initially charged Woods with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a handgun.
The case was then brought to a grand jury, which indicted Woods on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, along with the two other charges, on May 30.
Voluntary manslaughter is described in the charging document as a killing done “without malice … upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.”
Woods’ attorney did not return a call for comment Thursday.
The teen remains in custody in a juvenile detention facility, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
A potential trial witness list submitted by prosecutors in the case May 14 names eight officers with the Santa Fe Police Department, two neighbors and Woods’ mother.
Court records also show police executed a search warrant last week to obtain Woods’ fingerprints and DNA in the investigation of two shootings May 1 on the city’s south side.
In the first incident, the owner of a red Pontiac parked at a home in the 3500 block of Charley Bentley Drive reported someone he knew had shot up his vehicle. Police have said Woods had an ongoing dispute with the teen who owns the Pontiac.
According to a search warrant affidavit, police recovered spent .380-caliber casings at the scene, as well as video surveillance showing a suspect shooting from a vehicle similar to Woods’ mother’s car. A witness who watched the video told investigators Woods was in the car.
About 45 minutes after that shooting, a witness near Las Acequias Park, a short distance away, called police to report that two groups of boys or men in separate vehicles — one fitting the description of Woods’ mother’s car — were arguing and that one of them had pointed a gun at another, the affidavit said.
The witness, who was in the park with children, ran for cover behind a large rock and heard a gunshot, according to the affidavit. Officers found another spent .380-caliber casing there.
Later that night, Woods’ mother told detectives by phone she had spoken with her son, and he had assured her “it was not him” and that he had left her car with a friend, the affidavit says.
Woods was arrested six days later, after a Crime Stoppers tip prompted police to stop a rental car near Zafarano Drive.
Woods was a passenger in the car, and a Ruger .380-caliber handgun was found on the floorboard of the passenger side, according to the affidavit. The driver, who also was arrested, told police the gun belonged to Woods.