A jury trial started this morning at 9 a.m. for a Casper man charged with second degree murder in the death of Ryan Schroeder.

If found guilty, Justin Armondo Marquez faces 20 years to life in prison. He is being represented by attorney Valerie Schoneberger. District Attorney Dan Itzen is prosecuting the case.

Over 30 subpoenas have been served ahead of this week's trial.

Marquez is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The Investigation

NOTE: The material in the following sections of this article contain graphic descriptions of death that may be disturbing to some. Reader discretion is advised. 

Ryan Schroeder was reported missing to the Casper Police Department on July 6, 2021.

Court records show that acquaintences of the victim told police Schroeder had gone to Denver to sell a coin that he believed was worth around $50,000. Text messages indicate that Shroeder was in Denver on June 26, 2021.

According to phone records, Schroeder's last call was made on June 26 at 10:38 a.m. to Justin Marquez —also known as "The FatMan" from anonymous sources.

Marquez told police he had spoken with Schroeder on the phone while he was in Denver, but claims he declined offers to hang out. He also said his cell phone had been "glitching" and he was forced to get rid of it and get a new one, along with a new number, immediately after returning to Casper.

An alleged friend of Schroeder's painted a different picture. He told investigators that Schroeder, "The FatMan," and a female partied together on June 25, 2021, in a Motel 6 located off I-25 in Denver.

He said Marquez and Schroeder were doing drugs in the bathroom and argued all night like an "old married couple."

Blood Soaked SUV

Investigators learned of a maroon SUV registered to Marquez that was found in a family storage facility, covered by a brown tarp.

Pursuant to a search warrant, they towed the vehicle to the Casper Police Department for processing. Blood was found inside the SUV including droplets on the driver's side window and front windshield along with a bottle of window cleaner.

Large amounts of blood were found on the passenger seat, driver's seat, and center console. There were also several objects with blood on them in the back seat.

According to the affadavit, "The distinct smell of decomposition was noted inside the vehicle."

There was damage to the undercarriage and plant material clung behind.

Samples of the blood were sent to the Wyoming Crime Laboratory for analysis. DNA testing compared the samples to blood from Schroeder's mother and determined that it was very likely his.

Body Uncovered

Detectives found out that Justin Marquez's family owned a property in the Coal Mountain Road area.

Using electronic surveillance, they were able to see that Marquez drove a green Subaru to Coal Mountain Road on August 28, stopping at El Rio Road twice—once for eleven minutes, then eight.

On August 30 a large scale search of Coal Mountain was conducted by several law enforcement agencies.

At about 3:31 p.m. search teams discovered a bloodied towel at an abandoned homestead camp on the northeast side of the Coal Mountain Road.

"The distinct smell of decomposition was emitting from the towel" reads the affadavit.

About one minute later they found a badly decomposed body in a creek on the edge of the homestead. Vegetation had grown back up over the body, almost entirely covering it.

At least 25 stab marks were found on the upper chest and back. Several stab wounds penetrated the rib and sternum bones.

The body was taken to the Natrona County Coroner who identified it as Ryan Schroeder via tattoo.

A burn barrel was found at the scene, from which investigators were able to find a partially burned polo shirt—size 5 XL.

Evidence at the scene that was not burned included an LG cell phone battery, a white charging cord, a 13" footprint, an empty bleach bottle, matches, a lighter, and a silver folding knife among other items.

A search of Marquez's residence yielded clothing and shoes containing a red dirt substance simliar to that seen at the body site. The affadavit notes that they found several boots ranging in size from 13 to 14, two gas cans, a box of Hefty Trash bags, an LG phone missing a battery, various knives, and size 5 XL shirts.

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