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Two men have been charged with murder and aggravated robbery in connection with the slaying of a man in Salt Lake City last month, whose body was left in a car in Cottonwood Heights.
Jorge Arturo Castanon-Serrano, 34, and Marco Antonio Garcia, 26, both Mexican nationals, each acknowledged having set up the victim for a robbery, during which he was shot, according to the first-degree felony charges filed Friday in 3rd District Court.
Salt Lake City police believe the victim, 31-year-old Mauricio Martinez, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of May 27 near 1000 South and Redwood Road.
His body was found in the passenger seat of a Hyundai Elantra later that morning by construction workers in the parking lot of a credit union at 6440 S. 3000 East in Cottonwood Heights.
Neither Castanon-Serrano or Garcia were directly identified as the shooter in charging documents, but a witness, who was identified only by initials in court documents, told police he had driven with Martinez in the car to meet up with Castanon-Serrano.
Castanon-Serrano and Garcia had allegedly targeted both the witness and Martinez for a robbery, charges state, but it is not clear under what guise they lured the witness and Martinez.
When the witness and Martinez arrived at a designated meeting place, Castanon-Serrano instructed the witness to follow him, and they headed to a business parking lot near 1000 S. Redwood Road, charges state.
The witness said Castanon-Serrano then got into the back seat of the vehicle, according to charges, and "shortly after" the witness heard gunshots "coming from outside the vehicle."
Martinez was hunched over and bleeding, the witness told police, and they "quickly" drove away from the scene, charges state. Court documents do not clarify who fired the shots or when Castanon-Serrano exited the vehicle.
The witness said his intent was to go to the hospital, but he realized Martinez was already dead, charging documents said. The witness told police he abandoned the car and Martinez's body at Cottonwood Heights credit union.
A medical examiner later confirmed that Martinez died of a gunshot wound in the neck.
Castanon-Serrano and Garcia who were arrested May 31 were being held at the Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, cash-only.
The investigation is still very much open and active, SLCPD Detective Greg Wilking said Friday.
Salt Lake City police said in a June 1 news release that they were looking for three additional "persons of interest" and asked the public to be on the lookout for 34-year-old Jamie Clarissa George and two unidentified males in connection with Martinez's death.
The male suspects were spotted on security cameras where Martinez was believed to have been killed, hours before his body was discovered.
One of the men was described as white, in his 40s, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and 190 to 210 pounds. The second suspect was believed to be either Polynesian or Latino, with long, braided hair, 5 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet tall, and about 175 to 185 pounds.
Police have asked anyone with information on this case or the whereabouts of the persons of interest to call SLCPD at 801-799-3630, or anonymously text 274637, using the keyword TIPSLCPD.