Witness to Martinez slaying took police to bag of bullet casings

Savannah Martinez enters District Court in October. Martinez, who is a cooperating witness in the case related to the slaying of Cameron Martinez, took police to a trash bag that contained bullet casings. Luis Sánchez Saturno/New Mexican file photo

Correction appended

A cooperating witness led police last month to a bag of bullet casings purportedly from a suspect vehicle in the 2018 fatal highway shooting of an Española teen, according to a newly filed search warrant affidavit.

Cameron Martinez, 18, was killed and three of his passengers were injured during the October shooting on N.M. 68 near the Ohkay Hotel Casino. Police have said the shooting appeared to have been a case of mistaken identity prompted by threats on social media.

Savannah Martinez, no relation to the victim, had been a passenger in one of two suspect vehicles.

Two alleged shooters in that vehicle — Mark Timothy Hice, 23 and Anton Martinez, 19, also no relation to the victim — as well as the driver, Brittany Garcia, 21, are facing first-degree murder charges. Another alleged shooter, Axel Zamarron, 18, was in a second suspect vehicle, according to police.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Sept. 30.

Savannah Martinez, 24, of Ohkay Owingeh, pleaded guilty in May to evidence tampering in connection with the killing. Part of her agreement was to cooperate with the prosecution of the four co-defendants in return for a sentence of three years’ probation.

A search warrant affidavit filed by a New Mexico State Police agent Aug. 1 in First Judicial District Court said Savannah Martinez had taken a black plastic trash bag with bullet casings retrieved from the vehicle she had been in, after the shooting from Garcia’s home and thrown it off a bridge on the outskirts of El Rito.

Following an April phone conversation with the prosecutor, Martinez and her attorney, the agent searched a bridge on N.M. 554 and found nothing, the affidavit said. The agent then met in person with the three in July, and Martinez informed him it had been a different bridge.

A week later, the agent drove Martinez to the area, and she pointed out a bridge on N.M. 111, and a tree in the creek at the bottom of the bridge, according to the affidavit.

The bag was found near the tree, and when the agent tried to pick it up, it tore open, the affidavit said.

The agent said he placed the contents in a paper evidence bag, and executed a search warrant on it July 23.

Inside, amid trash, were 10 live .45 caliber rounds, two spent 9 mm casings, and mail for Garcia and Hice, the search warrant said.

District Attorney Marco Serna, whose office is prosecuting the case, has previously said that the suspects in the case had been armed with a 9 mm and two .45 caliber handguns.

This story has been amended to reflect the following correction. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that one of the murder suspects, Axel Zamarron, 18, had been in the same vehicle as the other three suspects. Zamarron was riding in a second vehicle with two juveniles at the time of the shooting, according to police.