After around six hours of deliberation, a Colorado Springs jury found Marquis Hazard guilty of murder Wednesday afternoon.
Hazard didn’t react as district judge Frances Johnson read a verdict finding him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder and a litany of other crimes linked to the brutal 2018 ambush that left college students Serena Garcia and Marcus Denton dead in a smoldering car.
Garcia’s family, who attended most of the trial in person, nodded as the verdict was read.
First-degree murder convictions carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. But after a last-minute motion filed by Hazard’s defense attorneys called for the felony murder charges to not carry that term, Johnson set Hazard’s sentencing date for Nov. 19.
Nashid Rivers, Hazard's co-conspirator convicted in May of pulling the trigger in the killings, is currently serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hazard, the driver and clean-up man in a 2018 murder plot to snatch marijuana from Denton, was tried for murder under the complicity theory, a legal argument that holds people who help commit crimes accountable for them.
Over the course of the trial, which spanned just over two weeks, prosecutors laid out texts, cell tower GPS data and testimony from Hazard’s former girlfriend Shailynn Ryles to show that Hazard had met with Rivers twice before the murders to help devise the plan to kill Denton.
The deal, prosecutors said, was that Hazard would be paid around $5,000 to help cover up the murders.
The murder plot only came to include Garcia, prosecutors said, after Rivers and Denton’s car broke down the morning of the murders, and Denton called Garcia, who lived in Parker with her family, to come pick them up.
“Tragically, Serena Garcia was awake and did go pick them up,” prosecutor Stephanie Redfield said during closing arguments.
Prosecutors also honed in on Hazard’s lawyers’ claim that he’d “robotically” gone along with Rivers after the murders out of fear, and hadn’t known Rivers planned to ambush the two. They pointed to the fact that Hazard had gone back to the scene of the crime to steal marijuana, phones and drivers licenses.
“He’s not a robot; he’s getting rich,” prosecutor Grant Libby said. "He never cut out; he kept going."