Taking your dog out for a walk should not end in a grisly murder. Unfortunately, this is what happened to a young couple in the Ballpark neighborhood of Denver. Now, the man arrested for the murder is facing a whopping 22 criminal charges.
What Charges Does He Face?
On June 10, a young couple was walking their dog and let the dog relieve itself near an apartment building. A man saw the couple and began to shout at them. The verbal altercation quickly turned deadly, as the man fired over 20 rounds at the couple. He killed the 21-year old woman and shattered the femur of her boyfriend. The boyfriend was placed in the ICU.
Later that day, police stopped the man believed to be responsible for the murder in a traffic stop and found the following:
- Pistol-grip rifle
- Gun belt
- High-capacity magazines
Although it is legal to keep a firearm in your car in Colorado, it is certainly not legal to keep high-capacity magazines in your car, and if police find you with them, you’re going to need legal help.
After connecting him with the crime, law enforcement charged the man with two counts of first-degree murder, nine counts of using a high-capacity magazine in a crime, and other charges. He is currently held in jail without bond.
High-capacity magazines are for sale, but still banned.
How can someone fire off 20 rounds out of their apartment? Easily. Although Colorado banned the sale, transfer, and use of high-capacity magazines (these magazines hold more than 15 bullets), not all stores in Colorado decided to listen to the law. A 9Wants to Know investigation in late 2019 found that many stores did not get rid of high-capacity magazines or attempted to find loopholes so that these weapons could continue to be sold.
These stores openly acknowledge that they are skirting the laws. A Weld County Sheriff told investigators “I don’t think the governor realizes that, at least the magazine ban had, I would say, almost zero effect.”
While this might be true for the stores that sell high-capacity magazines, it certainly isn’t true for people who are caught using them against others. Although having a high-capacity magazine illegally is merely a misdemeanor, using a high-capacity magazine during a violent crime is a class 6 felony in the state of Colorado. Nine additional counts of this felony could add years onto this man’s sentence. He is already facing four sentence enhancers for the violence involved in his crimes.
The man involved in the shooting does not have a criminal record, but he could easily go to prison for life for just one of the first-degree murder charges against him. Even if he is found not guilty on any of the violent crimes, weapons charges could still put him away for decades.
Have Weapons In Your Vehicle in Colorado? You Could Be Next
Remember, Colorado allows you to keep a concealed firearm in your car, but not high-capacity magazines. If law enforcement officers discover these, you will have a problem.
Do not let store owners in Colorado fool you. High-capacity magazines are illegal. Universal background checks are required. Even if your county’s sheriff does not want to enforce the law, judges do. Even just one charge of possessing a high-capacity magazine illegally could result in time behind bars.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.