DA lodges charges against 2 in slaying near Glenwood
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges including first-degree murder after deliberation against Carbondale-area resident Fredy Cabrera, and a magistrate advised him he would face life in prison without parole or even the death penalty if convicted of that charge.
The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office also brought charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and being an accessory to a crime against Josue Joya, 20, in the case.
The two are accused in connection with the July 31 fatal shooting of Douglas Menjivar near Glenwood Springs. Menjivar’s girlfriend, and Cabrera’s stepdaughter, Leydy Trejo, was shot and wounded.
Joya is accused of having driven Cabrera to the scene.
Cabrera, 39, who owns the El Horizonte restaurants in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, turned himself in the day after the shooting at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. He is being held without bond at Garfield County Jail. Joya is being held in lieu of a $250,000 bond.
Cabrera’s public defense team had waived his right to be advised of the charges against him and the potential punishment.
“But I am not going to waive it,” Magistrate Holly Strablizky said before informing Cabrera of possible penalties that could include death.
Days after the shooting, 9th District Attorney Sherry Caloia said she hadn’t had much time to think about it but it was unlikely she would pursue the death penalty in the case.
In a separate hearing before Judge Denise Lynch on Wednesday, deputy public defender Tina Fang cited those comments, and others, by Caloia in seeking limits on what statements prosecutors and law enforcement officials can make ahead of the trial. Fang worries that pretrial media coverage could be prejudicial against Cabrera.
Lynch ordered officials to follow professional rules of conduct. But she also told Fang, “I will note a lot of the press is coming from your client’s own family talking to the press, so you may want to talk to them, too.”
Joya could face up to 24 years in prison, or as much as 48 years in the case of exceptional circumstances, if convicted on the conspiracy charge.
He is awaiting court appointment of alternate counsel because public defenders are representing Cabrera and want to avoid a conflict of interest. Lynch ruled Wednesday that Cabrera can continue to receive free representation because his assets aren’t easily convertible to cash to pay attorneys, and he owes more on homes he owns than they are worth.