Man pleads not guilty in Clifton slaying

Simpson Michael mug

A man accused of fatally shooting one man and wounding three others in Clifton last summer pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Michael Simpson, 24, is scheduled for a three-week jury trial starting July 6 before District Judge Richard Gurley.

Simpson is charged with the first-degree murder of 50-year-old Marco Ramon Acosta-Estrella, who was shot while standing outside a Clifton home on the night of July 28. Simpson opened fire after someone at the home made a “snide” comment as Simpson and a friend were walking by, according to an arrest affidavit.

Simpson fired several more rounds inside a home at 468 Mae St. while residents there were celebrating a child’s birthday, the affidavit says. Four children were in the home at the time.

Simpson also has been charged with committing a bias-motivated crime

Simpson’s friend, Joshua Cole, 24, told investigators Simpson was upset after a fight with his girlfriend and was “looking for a fight” after a night of drinking, the affidavit said.

Deputies allege Simpson was uncooperative and intoxicated while he was being booked into Mesa County Jail, uttering several racial epithets.

Cole pleaded guilty in December to a felony charge of being an accessory to a crime and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.


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