The so-called “hit-man” in Park County’s headless corpse case pleads guilty.
John Louis Marquez told the judge he was sorry to the victim’s family, but he killed the man to protect his own family.
Penny Preston reports that Marquez pleading guilty wraps up one of the most bizarre murder cases in Park County history.
John Louis Marquez was accused of first degree murder in the shooting death of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres whose headless body was found on a remote road near Clark.
Marquez was waiting for his trial and could have gotten the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors alleged Marquez was hired to kill Torres by the victim’s girlfriend Sandra Garcia and her brother, Pedro Garcia.
Both have pleaded guilty to charges of 2nd degree murder.
According to court records, Sandra Garcia asked her brother to hire someone to kill her husband, because Torres owed people in Mexico $30 to $40,000 and she was afraid they would send someone to kill her and the five children she had with Torres.
When Marquez plead guilty to a lesser charge of 2nd degree murder more than a year later, he told District Court Judge Steven Cranfill he believed his family was in danger.
Marquez said, “I know what I did was wrong. I was led to believe my son and my grandchildren were in danger.”
Judge Cranfill accepted the amended plea and sentenced Marquez to 25 to 35 years in prison.
Neither prosecutor Timothy Blatt or Bryan Skoric were available for comment after the hearing.
Pedro Garcia is waiting for sentencing in his case.
His sister, Sandra, was sentenced to 10 to 18 years in prison.