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Atlantic City man held in woman’s killing

An Atlantic City man charged with murder allegedly told detectives he shot the victim because he just “wanted her to go away and leave him alone.”
Marketa Thorpe, 32, died of the single gunshot wound in the Sept. 12 shooting.
Maximo Santiago told investigators “he didn’t really mean to kill her but was hoping more to put her in a wheelchair so she would stop coming around to his place and bothering him,” Assistant Prosecutor Kate Robinson told the judge during a detention hearing Monday.
Santiago, 69, was ordered held pending trial. He faces life in prison on the murder charge.
But his defense attorney argued that Santiago’s statement to police sets up a passion provocation defense, which would take a life term off the table.
That defense would be an argument made at trial, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury said.
Police were called to Santiago’s home in the 1500 block of Belfield Avenue at 11:24 a.m. Sept. 12.
There, officers found Thorpe. She was taken to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus, where she was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the torso.
Santiago was arrested as he tried to flee in his Nissan Pathfinder, according to the affidavit.
The two had a history that included a prior relationship that had ended, according to information shared in court.
Thorpe, who was apparently homeless, had slept on Santiago’s porch the night before and then tried to attack him with what Santiago described as a plastic broom.
He then went inside, loaded a rifle with five rounds and then came back out and shot Thorpe once, Santiago allegedly told detectives.
Santiago remained calm during his interview with the investigators, and even joked after pulling a round out of his pocket, Robinson said, quoting him as saying, “Now I’m even more guilty, aren’t I?”
The prosecutor said Santiago admitted that he could have just stayed inside and called police, and that even if Thorpe had struck him, it likely wouldn’t have caused injury.
Santiago did not speak during his brief appearance in the courtroom, where he was separated from his attorney by partition, as part of the new health precautions being taken as in-person court resumes.
A Spanish interpreter relayed what was being said to him.
Santiago was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in 1975, but has had no apparent issues with law enforcement since, both sides agreed.
He will remain in the Atlantic County Justice Facility pending trial.
His next court date is set for Oct. 26.

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