A key witness in the fatal shooting of a Rio Arriba County teen died in a car crash in Española, the District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday.
Alejandra Noelia Gonzalez, 17, crashed her mother’s silver 2008 Dodge Status into a tree just before midnight Thursday near North Riverside Drive and Las Vegas Street, according to an Española police report.
Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene, and another 17-year-old girl who was riding in the vehicle was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. The report said excessive speed might have played a role in the crash.
District Attorney spokesman Henry Varela said Gonzalez was among seven young people involved in the October 2018 shooting death of Cameron Martinez, 18, of Alcalde. Gunmen in two cars opened fire on a car carrying Martinez and three friends on N.M. 68 near the Ohkay Hotel Casino.
Police have said the shooting appears to have been a case of mistaken identity. The young people who opened fire thought they were shooting at someone who had threatened one of them on social media.
The accused shooters — Mark Hice, 23, Axel Zamarron, 19, and Anton Martinez, 20 — are scheduled to stand trial this spring.
Another defendant, 22-year-old Brittany Garcia, is accused of driving one of the cars for the shooters. Her trial is set for June.
A fifth defendant, Savannah Martinez, 25, pleaded guilty in May to evidence tampering as part of an agreement with prosecutors that calls for her to serve three years of probation if she cooperates in the prosecution of the four defendants charged with murder.
Katryna Moya, then 17, and Gonzalez were riding in a car with Zamarron. Their criminal cases were not publicized because they were juveniles at the time of the crime.
Varela said Gonzalez’s case “had already been adjudicated” and she had agreed to testify against the other defendants.
Varela said Gonzalez’s testimony “would certainly have been important” in the case. He said prosecutors hope to use recorded statements and a sworn affidavit from Gonzalez at trial.
Gonzalez’s mother could not be reached for comment Tuesday.