2 men convicted of killing a woman and her boyfriend in a drive-by shooting in San Jacinto

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Two men who gunned down a woman and her boyfriend at a San Jacinto intersection during a drive-by attack stemming from a family quarrel were both found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

A Riverside jury deliberated only a few hours Monday before convicting Martel Patrick McBride and Kenneth Hahn Wilson, both 24 and of Hemet, of the 2018 slayings of 19-year-old Lauren Lopez of San Jacinto and 22-year-old Patrick Powell of Hemet.

Along with the murder counts, Wilson was additionally convicted of special circumstance allegations of taking multiple lives, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jason Armand scheduled the defendants’ sentencing hearing for May 3 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Wilson is expected to receive life in state prison without the possibility of parole, while McBride is facing 50 years to life in prison.

Each man is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Co-defendants Alexis Mary Garcia and Ariel Irene Savoie — both 25 and of Hemet — pleaded guilty last year to two counts of voluntary manslaughter. The women are scheduled to be sentenced later this month. They’re also being held at the Smith jail — Garcia without bail, and Savoie in lieu of $2 million bail.

According to a trial brief filed by the District Attorney’s Office, the conflict leading to the attack originated with Savoie and Powell, who had been romantically involved until breaking off their relationship shortly after she gave birth to his only child.

On the morning of Jan. 3, 2018, the two met at her Hemet residence to discuss a loan he needed for car repairs. The talk about money turned heated, and Powell became physical with Savoie, snatching her mobile phone and driving away in his black 2016 Chevrolet Spark, according to the prosecution.

Savoie conveyed to her new boyfriend, Wilson, what had happened, as well as her friends, McBride and Garcia, who were dating. Prosecutors said Savoie was incensed over her phone being taken, and her friends encouraged her to go after Powell.

They all piled into Garcia’s Nissan Sentra and soon spotted the Chevy hatchback on the Ramona Expressway. However, Powell was in the front passenger seat, and Lopez, his new love interest and Savoie’s cousin, was in the driver’s seat, according to court documents.

A chase ensued, during which Garcia sped after the other car, going around multiple vehicles until all parties came to a stop at the four-way intersection of Ramona Expressway and Warren Road.

The brief said that Wilson was in possession of a Luger 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and when Garcia stopped her car alongside the Chevy, the defendant jumped out of the Nissan and fired multiple rounds through the driver’s side of Powell’s vehicle, as well as the rear window.

Garcia and Savoie later told sheriff’s investigators they were in shock, never intending for the victims to be shot. Wilson quickly returned to Garcia’s vehicle, climbing into the backseat with McBride, after which the defendants sped away.

The Chevy hatchback rolled into a ditch, and several motorists called 911 to report what they had witnessed. Powell had stumbled out of the car after taking several bullets to the back and chest. He died before the ambulance arrived. Lopez was shot in the head but survived until reaching Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where she died less than an hour later.

Based on security surveillance videotape obtained from area businesses and witnesses’ statements, detectives were able to piece together the chain of events, culminating in the defendants’ arrests over the ensuing weeks.

None of the them had prior documented felony or misdemeanor convictions.

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