FARMINGTON — Police have charged two more people on suspicion of trying to cover up Randy McKenzie's slaying at a Farmington apartment on Dec. 15.
Mark Hinojos, 24, was arrested Dec. 17 and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting McKenzie, 39, during a party at an apartment at 3896 N. Butler Ave.
Jaime Montano, 26, was arrested Dec. 30 on suspicion of tampering with evidence, conspiracy to tamper with evidence and harboring a felon.
A warrant for Richele Ochoa's arrest for charges of tampering with evidence and conspiracy to tamper with evidence was filed Tuesday in Farmington Magistrate Court. Ochoa, 23, hadn't been arrested by Wednesday evening, but information about her warrant has been given to a fugitive apprehension task force in San Juan County, Farmington police Detective Robert Pimentel said.
In addition to Hinojos, four other people, including Montano and Ochoa, have been charged for allegedly trying to hide the crime, and police are continuing to investigate others in connection to McKenzie's death, Farmington police Detective Sgt. Brandon Lane said.
The shooting took place during a surprise birthday party for Hinojos at Cinthia Haston and Sabrina Pacheco's apartment on Butler Avenue, according to police. Police found out about the shooting at 3 p.m. the following day when McKenzie's sister, Rhonna Tenorio, called police and said her brother's death was "all over Facebook," according to court documents.
Several police affidavits filed in the case state that McKenzie got into a fight with Montano in the garage. McKenzie allegedly punched Montano before the two men stopped fighting and shook hands, according to court documents.
Then Hinojos pulled out a gun and shot McKenzie three times in the chest, according to the documents.
Witnesses told police McKenzie looked dead immediately after the shooting.
It's unclear how many people were at the party and how many people witnessed the shooting. Pacheco told police people were coming and going from the party throughout the night and she didn't know everyone there, according to court documents.
After the shooting, police said McKenzie's body was loaded into Pacheco's Dodge Durango and six people drove to a rural area near County Road 5030 and dumped his body.
According to court documents, Angel Mares, 33, drove the car. Hinojos sat in the front passenger seat. Ochoa sat behind Mares, and Pacheco, 46, sat next to her in the middle row. A man identified in court documents as "Alan" sat in the third-row of seats, and Montano sat next to that man.
Montano reportedly cursed at McKenzie's body, which was in the back of the vehicle, as the group rode to Crouch Mesa, according to the affidavits for Ochoa's and Montano's arrest.
McKenzie's body was stripped of clothing and left on a hill about three miles east of County roads 350 and 5030, according to police.
Haston allegedly told a friend she cleaned up her garage after the incident, according to court documents. Crime Scene Investigators searched her home and didn't find evidence related to the case there, according to the affidavit for Ochoa's arrest.
Mares and Pacheco were arrested and charged with tampering with evidence Dec. 16 at Mares' family's property on County Road 5572. They each waived their right to a preliminary hearing, and they are waiting to be arraigned in district court.
On Dec. 16, Montano and Hinojos spent the night at the Economy Inn, 332 E. Main St. in Farmington. Montano bought a room under the name James Montano, according to the affidavit for Montano's arrest, which is why he is charged with harboring a felon.
The two men stayed in the hotel until Dec. 17, when they went to Montano's mother's apartment at 2614 E. 20th St., where they were arrested.
"Throughout the investigation we learned Montano was an active participant in the disposal of McKenzie's body," Farmington police Detective John Bonnell said in an affidavit seeking an arrest warrant against Montano. "Montano was yelling obscenities to McKenzie's remains as they drove to the undeveloped area. He then assisted with removing McKenzie's body from the vehicle and disposing it."
The affidavit continues, "Montano then assisted Hinojos to elude police by renting a room at the Economy Inn under a different name. He then hid Hinojos at his mother's residence. He made no attempt to notify police of McKenzie's death."
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Montano's preliminary hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was continued and may be held next week.
Hinojos waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is also waiting to be arraigned in district court on his second-degree murder and tampering charges.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.