One of four Hemet suspects faces enhanced murder charges
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Lauren Lopez, 19, and Patrick Powell Jr., 22, were found deceased in Lopez’ Chevy hatchback, crashed on the shoulder of the road, near the intersection of Ramona Expressway and N. Warren Road in San Jacinto on Jan. 3. With a barrage of bullet holes scattering the vehicle’s rear window, it became clear that this was not a normal traffic accident.
According to court records, Hemet residents Ariel Savoie, 19, Alexis Garcia, 19, Kenneth Wilson, 18, and Martel McBride, 18 were arrested on Jan. 12 on suspicion of the double murder of Lopez and Powell.
One of the suspects, Savoie, is the mother of Powell’s youngest child, 6-month-old Kash, and is also Lopez’ cousin.
Arraignment for Savoie, Wilson, and McBride was originally scheduled for Jan. 12 in Riverside County Superior Court in the Banning Justice Center but was requested for continuance to Jan. 26, and now for next Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Department B101 of the Banning Justice Center, according to court records.
Separate from the other three, Alexis Garcia was also originally scheduled for arraignment Jan. 12, but his arraignment has been continued to Feb. 23 also in Department B101 of the Banning Justice Center.
All four suspects are each charged with two counts of murder, PC 187(A), but only Wilson is facing additional enhancement charges of discharging a firearm from a vehicle, PC 190.2(A)(21), discharging a firearm causing GBI (great bodily injury), PC 12022.53(D), probation denial, PC 12022.53(G), and special circumstances-more than one offense, PC 190.2(A)(3) for both victims.
Families still in mourning
Andrea Hill, mother of victim Patrick Powell Jr., has only one wish–justice for her son.
“It may be years of court dates, but I will make sure they will see my son every time they see our family in court,” she said. Powell was killed just a day before his 23rd birthday. His family said he was on his way to purchase a vehicle when he got in Lopez’ Chevy Hatchback. He left behind three young children.
Lopez was an MSJC student who also worked three jobs, one of them as an instructor at Team Quest Athletic Center in San Jacinto.
“It was beautiful; over 350 people [were there],” Renae Castillo said of her sister Lauren’s public casket viewing on Jan. 15. “My sister will be greatly missed.”