Man bound over for trial on first-degree murder charge
A man accused of fatally shooting his stepdaughter’s boyfriend and wounding her was bound over for trial today on charges including first-degree murder after deliberation.
However, 9th Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said after today’s preliminary hearing that she won’t be seeking the death penalty against Fredy Cabrera if he’s convicted.
“To me it’s not what the death penalty should be used for,” said Caloia.
She previously had said she didn’t think it was likely she would pursue capital punishment in the case, and that the death penalty should be reserved for heinous crimes usually involving more than one murder and a defendant with a criminal history.
Cabrera instead would face a mandatory sentence of life without parole if convicted on the murder charge. District Court Judge Denise Lynch also ruled there’s a high enough likelihood of conviction that he should continue to be held without bond.
Cabrera is accused of shooting and killing Douglas Menjivar, 21, at the Riverside Cottages just south of Glenwood Springs late in the evening of July 31 of last year, and shooting and wounding Leydy Trejo, now a senior at Basalt High School. He allegedly was upset that the two were in a relationship.
Trejo testified today that she didn’t see who shot them because it was dark. But when pressed by Assistant DA Scott Turner about whether her stepfather was the shooter, she said he was.
Describing her initial reaction to the shooting, she said, “I was frustrated, I was mad, I was sad, I was in pain. … I thought I was going to die.”
Trejo said she initially felt hatred for Cabrera after the shooting, but still loves him. She said he “wanted the best” for her and her siblings. She said he wanted her to finish high school and was worried about her falling grades, and had staged an intervention-type meeting with Menjivar, family and others over their relationship.
She moved in with Menjivar at the Riverside Cottages about a week before the shooting.
Two witnesses today, Noe Menjivar (no relation to Douglas) and Misael Martinez-Rivas, both testified that Douglas Menjivar had said Cabrera had threatened to kill him. Noe Menjivar also said he saw Cabrera and Menjivar scuffling during the shooting, and Martinez-Rivas said he saw Cabrera as he left the scene.
A gun and Cabrera’s cell phone were found on the scene, according to testimony.
Defense attorney Kathy Goudy said there may be testimony at trial that the gun went off unintentionally as Cabrera struggled with Menjivar.
Also today, defense attorney Colleen Scissors said Cabrera’s father, who lived in Glenwood, died Thursday. A service was held for him starting late this afternoon but Cabrera wasn’t allowed to attend because he couldn’t obtain a security escort from the Garfield County sheriff’s office.