Clifton teen slated for trial in friend’s death

A Clifton teenager pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to the shooting death of his friend.

Kenneth Cates, 16, is now scheduled for trial over four days starting May 31 before District Judge Thomas Deister.

Cates, who was in handcuffs and flanked by his attorney and mother Tuesday in Deister’s courtroom, is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a handgun by a juvenile, prohibited use of a weapon and false reporting to authorities.

Cates is being held without bond at Grand Mesa Youth Detention Facility in connection with the Sept. 1 shooting death of 16-year-old Troy Martinez, who was found by authorities fatally wounded in the face near the front porch of the home of Cates’ mother at 619 Susan St. in Clifton.

According to an arrest affidavit, Cates initially told authorities he was trying to disassemble a .22-caliber bullet, when it exploded and wounded Martinez. The affidavit said Cates didn’t agree to be interviewed by investigators until roughly three weeks after Martinez’s death.

During that interview, Cates allegedly said he had been firing a pistol into a crawl space at his mother’s home before pointing it at Martinez and pulling the trigger, according to the affidavit. Cates told investigators he believed the weapon was empty at the time Martinez was shot.

Cates said he found the pistol days earlier in his grandmother’s garage and loaded it with bullets he’d recently found in his mother’s truck, the affidavit said.


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