Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guilty verdict in MLK Day shooting

An Arapahoe County Jury has convicted Ishmael Figueroa of killing Loren Collins early this year near an Aurora grocery store.

Click below for our story as well as the release from the DA's office and links to previous stories. 

Sheriff looking for thief who broke into cars

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office just issued a bulletin asking residents for help finding a thief who broke into cars this month near East Quincy Avenue and South Himalaya Street.

The break-ins happened in the 20800 block of East Princeton Place in the early morning hours of Sept. 13. That's in unincorporated Arapahoe County just outside the Aurora city limits.

The sheriff's office released a grainy surveillance image of the suspect and said they were driving a light-colored station wagon.

Click below for the sheriff's bulletin.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MLK Day shooting case heads to jury

A spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County DA's Office just gave us word that the trial of Ishmael Figueroa has gone to the jury. 

Figueroa is accused of killing Loren Collins last January in front of a grocery store near Buckley and Quincy in Aurora. 

We haven't been in the courtroom on this one, but will update when there is a verdict. 

Here is a link to a previous story:
    Suspect in fatal MLK Day shooting due in court    

Fleming fire lawsuit nabs massive settlement

Law Week Colorado is reporting that a security company has been ordered to pay $18 million because their security system didn't work properly when a group of men burned down an Aurora warehouse in 2002. 

The Fleming fire was the biggest in Aurora's history. It destroyed 123,000 square-foot warehouse near I 70 and Chambers Road and left plume of smoke visible around the metro for days. 

Here are links to a couple of our stories on the blaze:
    Five years later, response to Fleming fire deemed a success    
    A second man was sentenced Friday for his part in Starting the worst fire in the history of Aurora.    

We are making calls on the settlement now and should have an update this afternoon. 
- Brandon

One dead in Tuesday night crash

EDIT: Whoops. This crash happened Tuesday morning, not Tuesday night.

AURORA | Police say a 74-year-old man ran a red light Tuesday night, slamming his Chrysler PT Crusier into a Pontiac Grand Am and killing the Pontiac’s driver. 

Police have not released the name of the 74-year-old man or the 57-year-old woman who was killed. 

The crash happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday at East Mississippi Avenue and South Uravan Street. 

Police say the PT Cruiser was headed east on Mississippi when the driver ran the red light at Uravan, slamming into the Pontiac and another car that were headed north through the intersection. 

The driver of the Pontiac was taken first to a local hospital then to Denver Health Medical Center, where she died Tuesday night.

Police have not said what charges the driver of the PT Cruiser would face or whether he and the driver of the third car were injured. 

Investigators are working on the case this morning, police said, and are asking anyone who witnessed the rash to call traffic detectives at 303-627-3164 or 303-627-3163.

Click below for the APD press release. We have a call in to the traffic sergeant and will update the story if we hear more. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ArapCo Sheriff warns of scam targeting the elderly

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office just sent out a bulletin warning the elderly about a recent scam.

Click below for the bulletin.

ICE arrests 78 in massive sweep, including somebody in Aurora **UPDATE**

NOTE: Post was updated at 3:31 p.m. with more info on attempts to get a name of Aurora man netted in the sweep.

Federal immigration authorities just announced the arrest of 78 people during a three-day sweep. 

At least one of the arrests happened in Aurora, though an ICE spokesman said the federal agency doesn't release the names of arrestees for "privacy reasons."

Here is what ICE did say:
A national of Mexico, was arrested at his residence in AuroraColo.  He was convicted in California for selling heroin and was sentenced to two years incarceration.  He was deported in November 1999. In March 2007, he was convicted in the U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, for illegally re-entering the U.S. and was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.  He was again deported in May 2009.  He is currently detained in ICE custody without bond pending deportation, and has been accepted by the U.S. Attorney for prosecution.
Seems strange not to release a name, but the ICE spokesman made it sound like this is pretty standard for ICE.

Since the ICE release said the US Attorney has accepted the charges, I just emailed the spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Denver to see if he can release the name. With the limited information I have, it might be difficult for him to know what in the world I'm talking about. I will update again if I hear back.

Click below for the full ICE release.

Gilbert found not guilty

AURORA | An Arapahoe County jury found Velma Gilbert not guilty of all the charges against her Tuesday, including first-degree murder. 

Gilbert was accused of killing Joseph Jiles, 20, in June 2009 at the Elmwood Park apartments. 

During the trial, prosecutors argued the slaying was murder and said Jiles was backing up when Gilbert shot him. 

Dog park crash injures two

AURORA | A woman was airlifted to a local hospital Tuesday night after being burned when her car started on fire following a crash at an Aurora dog park. 

The woman’s husband, who tried to pull her from the burning vehicle before firefighters arrived, was also burned, police said. 

The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. Monday at a dog park near East Quincy Avenue and South Pitkin Street. 

Aurora police Lt. Chuck DeShazer, who oversees the department’s traffic section, said the woman dropped off her husband and their two dogs at the park and then went to park the car. 

For some reason, the woman mashed the gas pedal while trying to park, sending the Toyota Rav 4 speeding through two fences before it slammed into a concrete barrier. 

DeShazer said it isn’t yet clear whether the woman hit the gas pedal because of a medical condition or because the vehicle malfunctioned. 

The crash started a grass fire that fire crews later put out. 

It wasn’t clear Tuesday whether the woman remained hospitalized or what her condition is. 

The names of the woman and her husband were not released. 

If we hear anymore on this we will update the story. 
- Brandon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gilbert claims self defense

CENTENNIAL | Velma Gilbert shot and killed Joseph Jiles last year because she was scared he would hurt her family, Gilbert’s lawyer said Monday during closing arguments in Gilbert’s first-degree murder trial.
Scott Robinson, Gilbert’s lawyer, said Jiles represented an imminent threat to Gilbert and her family when he threatened them on June 17, 2009.
He said Jiles was screaming that he had a gun and would kill Gilbert and her daughter when Gilbert shot him that day at the Elmwood Park apartments in Aurora.
“Velma Gilbert has an absolute right to act on appearances, act on what she sees,” Robinson said. 
But prosecutors argued that Jiles’ June 2009 shooting was not self defense but a “pre-emptive strike.”
Deputy District Attorney Byron Jones said Jiles was backing away from Gilbert when he was shot. 
Gilbert did not believe Jiles posed an immediate threat, Jones said, but felt he might come back another day and hurt her daughter, who is Jiles’ cousin and lived at the apartment building.
“The law says if the threat is no longer imminent ... you cannot claim self defense,” Jones said.

We should have more on this story shortly. And check back here and our twitter feed for updates when the verdict comes down. 

Click below for links to previous stories on Gilbert’s case. 

Taylor convicted

A jury this afternoon found Douglas Taylor guilty of first-degree murder, arson and attempted murder. Judge Patrick T. Murphy sentenced him to life plus 275 years. 

Click below for our brief on today's closing argument and the press release from the DA's office. 

Closing arguments in Douglas Taylor trial

In their closing arguments Monday, prosecutors said Douglas Taylor started the fatal fire in 2009 because his ex-girlfriend disrespected him.
“That is not OK with someone like Douglas Taylor,” said Deputy District Attorney Caryn Datz.
She said jurors should pay particular attention to Taylor’s former roommate, who said Taylor talked about fire often.
“Who talks about fire on a regular basis unless you are fascinated with it?” she said.
Taylor’s defense argued that it was friend Coy Dunn, not Taylor, who bore most of the responsibilty for the blaze that ripped through the apartment building on Emporia and left Jose Martinez dead.
They said Dunn looked up to Taylor and wanted to impress him.
“He lights that building on fire because he was trying to get respect from Mr. Taylor,” said public defender Janene McCabe.
She said Taylor was not aware of Dunn’s plan and was sitting in a car a block away when Dunn started the fire.
Dunn accepted a plea agreement and testified against Dunn last week.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More prison time in Olympia fraud case

Federal prosecutors announced prison sentences for two women connected to an Aurora financial firm that the feds say ran a tax fraud scheme. 

Click below for the story as well as a link to a previous story and a copy of the U.S. Attorney's press release. 

Suspect in Wed. shooting shoots self

Police said Friday they didn't anticipate releasing further information on the shooting Wednesday night near Chambers and Mississippi.

But Friday afternoon the case took a bizarre turn when the suspect — who was also wanted in connection with a bank robbery, a home invasion and a menacing case — shot himself as police closed in.

Click below for the police department's press release.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rx drop off gets final push

Local law enforcement really, really, really wants people to drop off unused and unwanted drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) this weekend.

We received at least six press releases this week about the events, scheduled for tomorrow around the metro area.

Click below for my brief on the local events and the latest press release, this one from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.

No updates on crazy Wed. night

A police department spokeswoman said Friday there likely won't be any updates today on the shootings from Wednesday night.

She said there should be updates Monday.

Here are links to our previous coverage ...

First, Sara Castellanos' story on the bizarre liquor store shootings
Clerks fire back at would-be liquor store robbers

And my story on the shooting on Fairplay Circle
One in critical condition after Wednesday night shooting


Prosecution rests in Gilbert trial

After five days of testimony, Arapahoe County prosecutors rested their case against Velma Gilbert Friday.

A spokeswoman for the DA's office said the defense is now calling witnesses.

It isn't clear when closing arguments will happen, but I hope to be in the courtroom when they do.

Unfortunately, we've missed all of the trial so far because of the Taylor trial in Adams County.

Click below to see our most recent stories on Gilbert's trial.

Taylor trial wraps up

Testimony in the trial of Douglas Taylor, the man accused of starting a fatal apartment fire on Emporia Street in 2009, wrapped up today in Adams County District Court.

A spokeswoman for the DA's office said prosecutors wrapped up their case Friday morning and the defense did not call any witnesses.

Judge Patrick Murphy dismissed the jury for the weekend.

Closing arguments are set for Monday morning.

We weren't in the courtroom for today's testimony, but below is our story from yesterday afternoon, followed by links to our previous coverage.