A jury began deliberations for a Colorado Springs man on trial for being the getaway driver and clean-up man in a point-blank ambush that killed two near a dog park in 2018.
Prosecutors rested their case against Marquis Hazard, accused of planning and helping to clean up after a 2018 shooting that left two college students dead and lawyers made their final arguments in a case that could see Hazard facing life behind bars in the 2018 deaths of Serena Garcia, 21, and Marcus Denton, 20.
Jurors also will mull Hazard's role in other crimes related to the slayings, including being an accessory to murder, and tampering with evidence.
Judge Frances Johnson ruled on Tuesday there wasn't ample evidence to convict Hazard of pulling the trigger in the killings. But he can still face a murder conviction if jurors find he was complicit in the crime with co-defendant Nashid Rivers. Rivers got a life term for the killings in May.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Stephanie Redfield pointed to the week leading up to the killings, citing cell phone tower tracking of Hazard and Rivers’ phones that showed them at the murder scene the night before the killings. She said they planned the killings and tested the murder weapon.
Redfield outlined how Hazard went back to the scene after the murders,and rifled through Garcia and Denton’s clothing in search of valuables, taking a gallon-size bag of marijuana in Denton’s backpack and absconding with cell phones and identification cards.
“He goes back and gets so much evidence there that it’s clear he knows what to do, that they’d discussed this beforehand,” she said.
The most consequential evidence in the entire case, prosecutor Grant Libby said, were the three words Hazard used to reply to Rivers’ infamous claim just before the murders that he was going to “dome,” or shoot in the head, Denton and Garcia: “Yup for sure.”
"He is not only agreeing with what has been said, he is certifying what is about to happen,” Libby said. “This was a murder plot, ladies and gentlemen, and the defendant approved.”
But those words, Hazard’s defense attorney Michael Stuzynski said during closing arguments, don’t reflect what Hazard knew at the time he sent them
“The people are asking you to speculate, to infer, to guess that Marquis Hazard knew what Rivers meant when he said he was going to ‘dome’ Marcus Denton,” Stuzynski said.
Hazard had committed some crimes, Stuzynski said — in fact, he’d admitted to going back to the scene and taking phones, among other things related to accessory to murder and tampering with evidence.
But the attorney said he feared Rivers would kill him next. That drove Hazard to help Rivers attempt to conceal the crime, Stuzynski said.
Stuzynski admitted his client made a mistake.
“But consider what’s fair when looking at other charges,” Stuzynski asked of the jury.