Two men accused in a double killing last spring will stand trial for murder, a 4th Judicial District Court judge ruled Friday after testimony and evidence was presented in a two-day preliminary hearing.
Nashid Rayon Rivers, 20, and Marquis Dantre Hazard, 19, face more than 30 charges each — including multiple counts of first-degree murder and first-degree murder after deliberation — in the killings of Serena Lee Garcia and Marcus Howard Denton.
During the hearing, testimony from Colorado Springs police officers and investigators showed that each of the defendants accused the other of pulling the trigger on the victims, whose bodies were found in a car in a west Colorado Springs cul-de-sac on April 21.
Rivers told police that he and Hazard were in the car with Garcia and Denton off Gold Camp Road, where they had gone to smoke marijuana, when Denton pulled out a gallon-size plastic bag of the drug. Denton became irritated when Hazard wouldn’t give the bag back, and Rivers heard a popping sound as Hazard shot Denton, he told Colorado Springs police detective Matt McLain, who testified Friday.
But Rivers’ brother had told McLain that his sibling had admitted to a plan to rob Garcia and Denton of their marijuana, shoot them dead and set their car aflame. When interviewed by McLain, the brother described Rivers as “blood hungry” and had said in past conversations that he needed to get his “first body.”
Hazard said in interviews with police that he had met Rivers about a week before the murders in an online chat room while playing a video game. Rivers had asked for a ride on April 21, but Hazard told police that Rivers didn’t elaborate on why he needed assistance. Hazard had said he and his girlfriend picked Rivers up at the cul-de-sac where the victims were found, McLain testified.
Phone records introduced as evidence during the hearing show that Hazard and Rivers were texting within an hour of the murder. Rivers texted Hazard that he was “about to dome him. “Dome,” McLain testified, is video game slang for shooting someone in the head.
A black handgun, along with several bullets, were later found at Rivers’ family home.
“The bottom line is both parties, both defendants have blamed one another of being the shooter in this case,” 4th Judicial District Judge Larry Edward Schwartz said. He added that, despite the conflicting testimony, there was probable cause to believe either or both the defendants were responsible for the deaths.
Denton, 20, was a native of Atchison, Kan. Garcia, 21, lived in Parker with her family.
Rivers and Hazard will each appear in court on Nov. 13 for an arraignment.