2 more plead guilty for involvement in grisly teen slayings
The night two teens, Derek Greer and Natalie Cano-Partida, were shot and left by the side of a road, three other people were reportedly in the car that drove them out to where they were killed "execution style."
Three of the people said to have been with Derek and Natalie in their final hours have admitted their involvement as part of a plea deal, including two this week. Gustavo Marquez, 20, admitted in court on Monday that he was there and it was his car used in the crime. As part of a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.
In court Tuesday, 19-year-old Joseph Rodriguez Jr. confessed to having Natalie and Derek brought to his home, taking their phones -- and when pressed -- admitting he knew they would be kidnapped. In return for pleading guilty to two counts of kidnapping, first-degree murder charges against him were thrown out.
Marquez was reportedly dating Natalie. He told a judge he tricked the teens into thinking they were going to a party. Marquez allegedly told investigators after his arrest that Mario Garcia-Bravo and Diego Chacon were also in the car, and it was those two men who took turns shooting the teens on Old Pueblo Road last March before the group returned to Colorado Springs.
As part of the plea deal taken by Marquez, he will testify in any necessary hearings concerning his co-defendants, including Garcia- Bravo and Chacon.
It was a bittersweet development for Derek's mother.
"I want it over as soon as possible, but I hope that true justice prevails, and I hope they can realize what they did and feel some sadness is what I'd really like," said Heather Ferguson.
The plea deal for Marquez also took life in prison off the table. The minimum time he could spend in prison when sentenced is 32 years.
Like Marquez, Rodriguez no longer faces life in prison, but instead 16-32 years. He must testify against his co-defendants.
Garcia-Bravo and Chacon are due back in court next Monday.