5 charged with first-degree murder in El Paso County double homicide

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -- Five young adults face first-degree murder charges in El Paso County, accused of killing two teenagers near Colorado Springs.

The victims’ family members came face to face with the suspects during a court hearing Tuesday.

As the criminal investigation moved forward, more suspects were identified. On Tuesday, 10 suspects were formally charged, accused of being involved in the killings of Derek Greer, 15, and Natalie Partida, 16.

The pair’s bodies were found on March 12 near Pikes Peak International Raceway. The first to be arrested was Gustavo Marquez, 19.

“[Gustavo] is a good kid,” his aunt, Tiffany Hiter, told KRDO. "I know he’s 19, but he just turned 19. He’s still transitioning to be an adult.”

Since Marquez’s arrest, nine other suspects have been arrested. Five people face first-degree murder charges, including Marquez. The other five are accused of being involved in the homicides and face various charges, including accessory to murder.

Details surrounding how the victims were killed and a motive have still not been released by authorities.

Along with sealed court documents, a judge issued gag orders Tuesday. The secretiveness of the proceedings is a bit unusual, according to El Paso County criminal defense experts.

“I have not seen something kept this tight-lipped in my 18 years here,” Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney Richard Bednarski told KRDO.

The five suspects facing murder charges are expected to be back in court on June 30.

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