Suspect: No memory of hammer, knife attacks
A military veteran diagnosed with mental health disorders claimed he has no memory of wielding a hammer and stabbing four people who were celebrating July 4 fireworks at a Pear Park home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Alejandro “Alex” Olvera, 24, 3140 Brownie Circle, No. 52, was ordered held Wednesday at the Mesa County Jail on $100,000 bond on suspicion of first-degree assault, four counts of second-degree assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
County Court Judge Bruce Raaum’s courtroom erupted in applause after the judge set the bond, an increase from the initial $60,000 bond authorized by District Judge Richard Gurley, who signed Olvera’s arrest warrant. District Attorney Pete Hautzinger argued Raaum should keep bond at $60,000.
Cory Krieg, 20, pushed for a higher bond and questioned why Mesa County Sheriff’s Department investigators couldn’t find evidence to support an attempted murder charge.
“I almost died twice while my little brother was standing over me crying,” Krieg said to the judge.
An arrest affidavit said Krieg was stabbed twice in the upper abdomen and underwent at least two surgeries at St. Mary’s Hospital. The incident around midnight July 4 at 3142 Perkins Drive left five people hospitalized: four with stab wounds from a knife and one with a head injury from a hammer. Deputies found about 11 initial witnesses, several of whom said a Hispanic man walked up to a group of people who were lighting fireworks.
“It was reported the male told one witness that he was an Army veteran and wanted them to stop shooting off the fireworks,” the affidavit said.
Witnesses offered varying accounts about how a confrontation became physical, but they agreed it started after the man initially walked up to the group shooting the fireworks and asked them to stop.
As of the writing of the affidavit Tuesday, doctors said one victim suffered serious bodily injury, including a fractured ear bone. The remaining four victims — three women and a man — suffered a variety of stab wounds. One woman was stabbed seven times.
Olvera initially denied any confrontation or that he displayed weapons, but later said his girlfriend told him he was involved in the incident on Perkins Drive. He claimed to have no memory of it.
“Mr. Olvera stated he is a military veteran, he does have a problem with fireworks, and his anger sometimes causes him to have blackouts,” the affidavit said.
He said he’d consumed three to four beers that evening, but wasn’t intoxicated, explaining his memory problems stemmed from a traumatic brain injury suffered during his military service. Olvera’s girlfriend told investigators he took medication “to keep him calm, explaining he has issues with people staring at him and crowding him due to his prior military deployment,” the affidavit said.
Treated at VA hospital
Phone calls to the U.S. Army seeking information about Olvera’s career and deployment periods were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Records from Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center said Olvera was diagnosed in December 2010 with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and that he abused alcohol, the affidavit said.
After that initial finding, Olvera visited another local doctor along with a “readjustment counselor” several times, the affidavit said. Olvera’s most recent visit on June 15 found the same issues identified six months earlier, but Olvera was also using marijuana, had a personality disorder and was deemed obsessive-compulsive, the affidavit said.
Olvera told doctors he was assaulted in April while vacationing in Texas. The incident was among three prior incidents that he said triggered “blackouts or blind rage,” the affidavit said. He was a suspect in reported assault Sept. 21, 2009, in Temple, Texas, but ultimately he was cleared when authorities concluded he was defending himself, the affidavit said.
Olvera was suspected on April 29, 2010, of choking an ex-girlfriend in a department store parking lot in Temple, where portions of the alleged incident were captured on a store surveillance camera, the affidavit said. A report said the woman was afraid of Olvera and declined to give a statement to police. He wasn’t prosecuted.
Olvera on April 2, 2011, was temporarily placed in protective custody following an incident involving a dog at a house party, the affidavit said. A man retrieved a knife in order to cut the cast off his dog’s leg, to which Olvera suggested the entire leg should be cut off.
“The friend thought he was joking and pushed Mr. Olvera,” the affidavit said. “Mr. Olvera reportedly became irate, grabbed the knife and cut himself.”
Olvera allegedly struck a woman before other guests at the party intervened and knocked him unconscious, but the assaulted woman wasn’t found by law enforcement, the affidavit said. Olvera wasn’t arrested.
Prior to 2009, Olvera’s lone encounter with law enforcement was a 2005 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving in Texas, according to court records.
Prosecutors will file formal charges July 22.