Updated: July 1, 2005 at 12:00 am
A few hours after Antonio Jose Marquez was shot, his body set on fire and dumped along a dusty prairie lane in eastern El Paso County, the people who knew how he died were told to keep quiet. They were given $50 each for their silence and warned that if they talked they and their families would be killed. They gave the money back. There was blood on it. The victim’s. The burned body of Marquez, 24, was found June 14 along South Blaney Road near Colorado Highway 94. That is the scenario presented in an arrest affidavit against Brenda Lee Vargas, 38, of Colorado Springs and Moses Vargas, 39, of Alamosa. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday arrested them on suspicion of being accessories to first-degree murder. Neither suspect was present when Marquez was killed. They are accused of meeting with the killer afterward and helping in a cover-up. They are in El Paso County jail on $500,000 bail. Investigators have not released the name of the suspected killer, who could be arrested as soon as today, said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Clif Northam. According to the affidavit, several people were with Marquez in a Dodge Durango when he was killed. An argument about money broke out and he was shot several times while sitting in the back seat. The next morning, at Brenda Vargas’ Lassen Drive house, Moses Vargas helped dispose of clothes worn during the killing, according to the affidavit. He promised to take care of everything and threatened to kill anyone who talked, the affidavit states. One witness began to shake when a detective showed him a photo of Moses Vargas. According to the affidavit, the morning after Marquez was killed, one of the men in the Durango with him gave away a ring that had blood on it. A few days later, a witness told detectives, Brenda Vargas talked about “how to retrieve the ring and avoid arrest.” She also helped Moses Vargas attempt to destroy “possible evidence” and lied to investigators about her role, according to the affidavit.