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Autopsy: Man’s Death Was a Suicide

Officers on the scene of a homicide investigation at the Travelodge near Tramway and Central on Wednesday. (Troy Simpson/Journal)
Officers on the scene of a homicide investigation at the Travelodge near Tramway and Central on Wednesday. (Troy Simpson/Journal)
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Police charged Dedrick Brewer late Wednesday with an open count of murder in what they believed was Albuquerque’s first homicide of 2012: the death of 55-year-old Mark Anthony Garcia, who was found in a room at the Travelodge at Tramway and Central with his throat slashed.

But by Thursday afternoon, prosecutors had dropped the charges against Brewer, a 52-year-old who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and he was scheduled to be released from the Metropolitan Detention Center, according to court and jail records.

That’s because an autopsy performed by the Office of the Medical Investigator revealed that Garcia had committed suicide, according to police.

APD spokeswoman Tasia Martinez said the autopsy showed that the wound across Garcia’s neck showed “hesitation marks,” which indicate stopping and starting in a slash wound.

OMI operations director Amy Boule declined to comment. She said the office’s policy is not to release any information on a case until it has been logged officially into the OMI system, and Garcia’s hadn’t.

Brewer told detectives that he had met Garcia on a city bus Tuesday, and the two had gone back to the motel where Brewer had been living since October, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

The two smoked crack in the room Tuesday night, Brewer told police, and began playing with Brewer’s fold-out knife, the complaint states. They struggled for the knife at one point, and Brewer let Garcia have it.

Brewer eventually went to bed, the complaint states. He noticed that Garcia’s neck was cut, he was “bleeding a lot,” and he “didn’t want to live.”

Brewer told police he had nothing to do with Garcia’s death and that he had “brought (Garcia) out of the cold,” according to the complaint.

Police took Brewer from the Travelodge in handcuffs around 4 p.m. Wednesday, but said he wasn’t under arrest.

Stephan Alessandra, Brewer’s caregiver who had discovered Garcia’s body and called police, said in an interview Thursday there had been no indication Brewer would be charged with a crime.

“This whole thing is just bizarre,” Alessandra said, adding that he planned to pick Brewer up from jail Thursday evening.

The assistant district attorney who signed the warrant for Brewer’s arrest did not return calls seeking comment.

According to a statement from police spokeswoman Martinez, APD detectives and prosecutors decided to arrest Brewer “based on evidence at the scene” that amounted to probable cause for a murder charge.

“We will continue our investigation into the death of Mark Anthony Garcia,” the statement said.
— This article appeared on page C01 of the Albuquerque Journal

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