Crime scene photos hold up murder prosecution
A judge today ordered the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to turn over by Oct. 31 crime scene photos that an attorney for an alleged murderer needs to see to prepare his defense.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Denise Lynch also granted Deputy Public Defender Tina Fang’s request for a continuance in the case to allow time to review the photos.
Fredy Cabrera, 39, is due back in court Nov. 21, and it’s now appearing that a preliminary hearing in his case likely wouldn’t occur until January at the earliest.
Cabrera, owner of the El Horizonte restaurants in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the July 31 fatal shooting of Douglas Menjivar near Glenwood Springs. Cabrera’s stepdaughter, who was Menjivar’s girlfriend, was shot and injured in the incident.
Josue Joya, 20, faces charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for allegedly driving Cabrera to the scene. The two remain in Garfield County Jail, Cabrera on a no-bond hold and Joya in lieu of a $250,000 bond.
Fang told Lynch that defense attorneys have been “making extremely diligent efforts” to review as many as 3,800 pages of documents in the case. But she said it’s hard to consider some reports in the proper context without the crime scene photos.
“We can’t really evaluate the physical evidence in a vacuum,” she said.
Assistant 9th Judicial District Attorney Scott Turner said the return of the photos initially was held up because the main CBI investigator on the case also was involved in other cases. He said he’d been told the photos were on their way and thought they would have been returned by now.
Lynch today also ordered Cabrera to have no contact with the stepfather of Menjivar in the case. Prosecutors asked that the stepfather be added to the list of those coming under a mandatory protection order in the case, and Fang said there were no grounds for doing so but asked that Lynch limit any order to one barring contact.
Fang today also filed a motion asking that hundreds of pieces of evidence, including things such as cell phones and cars, not be released until the defense team has had an opportunity to examine and test them. Turner said the owner of a Jeep Liberty seized in the case wants the vehicle back, but he told the owner’s attorney it won’t be released until the defense can inspect it.
Joya is alleged to have driven a Jeep to the scene of the shooting.