By Zachary Dupont
FOUNTAIN, Colo. — Two of the folks concerned within the incident that led to the dying of Fountain police officer Julian Becerra earlier this 12 months have been in court Wednesday, with one of many two males being sentenced to 27 years in jail for his involvement.
Anthony Vallejos, 33, appeared in court within the morning for his sentencing listening to whereas Devon Bobian, 32, appeared in court within the afternoon for his preliminary listening to.
In response to earlier Gazette reporting, Bobian, Vallejos and Daniesha Pacheco have been arrested in February after stealing a automobile and main a number of regulation enforcement companies on a chase all through El Paso County. Finally, the driving force, alleged to be Bobian, misplaced management on a bridge, crashed, and all three of the defendants tried to flee on foot. The affidavit for Bobian’s arrest states that, whereas trying to apprehend the trio, Becerra fell off the bridge and fell about 40 toes.
Earlier this 12 months Vallejos accepted a plea settlement that noticed him plead responsible to at least one rely of aggravated theft with a lethal weapon, a Class 3 felony, for his involvement within the incident. Bobian faces eight expenses for his involvement, together with a second-degree homicide cost because the prosecution alleges it was Bobian’s actions that led to the dying of Becerra.
At Vallejos’ sentencing listening to within the morning a small handful of individuals testified to the affect that the incident had, together with Fountain Police Lt. Sheyna Marshall.
Marshall acknowledged that she spoke on behalf of all the Fountain Police Division throughout her sufferer affect assertion, and spoke about how they misplaced their good friend Becerra on account of a routine legal being allowed to stroll the streets.
“Julian’s tragic dying is a stark reminder of the tangible affect routine offenders have on this group,” Marshall stated. “This highlights the damaging nature of routine offenders in our group.”
Marshall went on to explain Becerra as a “husband, father, co-worker and good friend.”
The court additionally heard from the sufferer of the tried car-jacking, Mary Lee Palmer, who spoke about how the incident was, and nonetheless is, traumatizing.
“I assumed I used to be going to be kidnapped,” Palmer remarked.
Previous to Choose Chad Miller issuing his sentence for Vallejos, prosecutor Jeffery Harwood requested the court to take Vallejos’ standing as a routine legal into consideration.
Harwood acknowledged that Vallejos has 5 earlier felony convictions within the state courting again to earlier than he was even an grownup, and had only in the near past pleaded responsible to a unrelated menacing and eluding case in Pueblo County.
Jared Grabski, Vallejos’ defense lawyer, argued that his client’s standing as a routine offender doesn’t make him a nasty particular person, however moderately that Vallejos is certainly one of many people who find themselves caught in a life they can’t escape.
“We have now people who find themselves introduced up in these communities and may’t get out,” Grabski stated in reference to the feedback made about Vallejos being a routine offender.
Grabski added that Vallejos was not the person with the gun all through this incident, and that the court ought to take that under consideration throughout sentencing.
The ultimate particular person to talk earlier than Miller gave his sentence was Vallejos himself.
“I might prefer to take accountability for what occurred that evening,” Vallejos stated. “I am sorry to the family of the officer who handed away, I pray for him and his household.”
Miller opted to problem Vallejos a sentence of 27 years within the Division of Corrections, a number of years shorter than the utmost sentences Vallejos confronted of 32 years. Miller acknowledged when issuing the sentence that Vallejos was “the least threatening” of the three people charged within the incident, but additionally acknowledged that Vallejos’ legal historical past was not good, and could not be ignored.
Within the afternoon Miller presided over the preliminary listening to of Bobian, the person prosecutors allege prompted the dying of Becerra.
The prosecution referred to as 4 regulation enforcement witnesses to testify on the listening to, crucial of which got here from the listening to’s remaining witness El Paso County detective Nickolas Brklich.
Brklich, who was the lead investigator on the case, reviewed screenshots of body-worn digital camera footage with prosecutor Dave Younger that confirmed Bobian on the highest of Becerra’s automobile proper earlier than his dying. Brklich insinuated that Bobian’s option to get on the automobile and “step in the direction of” Becerra, which may allegedly be seen within the screenshots, is instantly what led to Becerra falling off the bridge.
Testimony was additionally heard from Fountain Police Detective Isaac Ablia who was on the bridge the evening of the incident. Ablia testified that after police have been in a position to cease the trio on the bridge Vallejos and Pacheco instantly surrendered, whereas Bobian continued trying to flee.
Ablia acknowledged that Bobian tried to leap off the bridge himself previous to being captured whereas yelling “Let me go I wish to die.” It was solely after Bobian had been detained that Ablia realized Becerra had fallen off the bridge in the course of the incident.
Younger acknowledged in the course of the prosecution’s argument that the selection from Vallejos and Pacheco to give up is what led to solely Bobian being charged with second-degree homicide.
Miller wasted no time in issuing his ruling that every one eight expenses confronted by Bobian, together with second-degree homicide, could be sure over for trial. An arraignment date for Bobian was set for Jan. 10, 2024.
The third defendant concerned within the incident, Pacheco, 28, didn’t seem in court Wednesday. In Pacheco’s earlier court look earlier this month she pleaded responsible to an amended rely of aggravated theft with a violent crime sentence enhancement.
Pacheco is because of be sentenced subsequent 12 months on Jan. 3.
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