Cabrera guilty of killing stepdaughter’s boyfriend
A Carbondale restaurant owner this morning pleaded guilty in the shooting death of his stepdaughter’s boyfriend.
Fredy Cabrera, 40, faces a sentence of 16-48 years under a deal with prosecutors under which he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Douglas Menjivar, 21. He had been charged with first-degree murder after deliberation, which would have carried a sentence of life without parole had he been convicted.
Speaking in 9th Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs, Cabrera said he was responsible for Menjivar’s death, and apologized to Menjivar’s family.
As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped an assault charge involving the shooting and wounding of Cabrera’s stepdaughter, Leydy Trejo. Cabrera will be sentenced Oct. 1. His trial had been scheduled to start Sept. 22.
Authorities say Cabrera shot the two outside the Riverside Cottages just south of Glenwood Springs on July 31, 2013. He reportedly was upset about the two being in a relationship.
Cabrera and his wife Vilma own the El Horizonte restaurant in Carbondale.
Cabrera had repeatedly changed his mind over the last week about accepting the plea, and his attorneys said his indecisiveness stemmed from him being emotional over the possibility of being away from his family even 16 years.
Speaking to reporters after this morning’s plea hearing, Vilma said Cabrera had hoped that if he’d gone to trial, it might have resulted in an outcome involving fewer years in prison.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said prosecutors plan to argue for a sentence of more than 24 years, which would require a finding that aggravating factors existed. One of those factors is the use of a weapon, she said.
One outcome of the plea deal is that Trejo won’t have to testify against her stepfather at trial. Although she had identified Cabrera as the shooter immediately after it occurred, she did so only reluctantly later in a preliminary hearing in the case.
Trejo wasn’t at this morning’s plea hearing. She has begun attending classes at Colorado Mesa University.
Caloia said she’s satisfied with the second-degree murder conviction because it was one plausible outcome had the case gone to trial. Prosecutions had hoped to show premeditation justifying a more serious charge based in part on alleged threats Cabrera had made against Menjivar in the days and weeks ahead of the shooting.
Vilma said she was happy with the deal Cabrera received, and had encouraged him to accept it.
The Cabreras also owned an El Horizonte restaurant in Glenwood Springs at the time of the shooting, but have sold it. Vilma, 36, said she continues to work to make ends meet at the Carbondale restaurant with the help of her faith in God and the assistance of her children. Cabrera is the father of three of her children, the youngest of whom is 5.