All charges dropped against second man in Glenwood slaying
Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a man who had been accused of being an accomplice in a July 31 murder near Glenwood Springs, although he remained in jail Friday because of an immigration hold.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said charges against Josue Joya, 20, were dismissed after prosecutors received further evidence in the case, including cellphone records and tests on a bloody towel in the vehicle he had been driving.
“We got the results of testing and some other evidence and concluded that we didn’t have a case against him,” Caloia said.
Joya faced charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and being an accessory to a crime in connection with the shooting death of Douglas Menjivar.
Carbondale-area resident Fredy Cabrera, 39, faces charges including first-degree murder after deliberation. Cabrera, owner of the El Horizonte restaurants in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, also is accused of shooting and wounding his stepdaughter, Leydy Trejo.
Joya had been held at the Garfield County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond in connection with Menjivar’s death. He remained there Friday on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
According to an arrest affidavit, Joya admitted to driving Cabrera to the scene of the shooting but denied any knowledge that Cabrera planned to shoot the two and immediately left the area when he heard gunshots.
Caloia said blood found on the towel turned out to be Joya’s, not that of the victims or Cabrera. Cabrera reportedly fell over a ledge during the shooting. Also, Joya’s cellphone records show he didn’t leave the Roaring Fork Valley after the shooting, she said.
That means “he didn’t drive Cabrera to Grand Junction” after the shooting, she said. Cabrera somehow ended up there a day later and turned himself in at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.
Joya’s arrest affidavit indicated he knew Cabrera was angry about his stepdaughter dating Menjivar. It also said Cabrera drank beers as they drove around the day of the shooting, and took a gun with him when he left their car to go see Trejo.
Caloia said prosecutors lacked evidence to file lesser charges or show Joya knew of Cabrera’s alleged plans.
“I think their case just completely fell apart,” said Joya’s attorney, Garth McCarty, referring in part to the theory of Joya driving Cabrera to Grand Junction.
McCarty credited prosecutors for their decision. He said a lot of people knew of Cabrera’s anger over his stepdaughter’s relationship, and it was absurd to think Joya or anyone else knew what Cabrera might have been planning.
He called it “a terrible shame” that Joya spent three months in jail awaiting prosecution on the charges.
Asked about any bearing the dismissal of Joya’s case might have on the Cabrera prosecution, Caloia called that matter “very separate.”
“We just want to make sure we’re looking at stuff constantly and determine what’s there that we can prove and what we think the right thing to do is, and ultimately we’ve got to go with the evidence we’ve got, and this (dismissal) was the result in this case.”