Orchard Mesa man is guilty of menacing in 2008 shooting

An Orchard Mesa man who shot another man in the abdomen more than a year ago was found guilty Friday of felony menacing with a deadly weapon.

Meanwhile, the jury determined he was not guilty of two other charges: second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury and prohibited use of a weapon.

Mesa County Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage claimed during closing statements
Thursday that Charles Ettinger provoked the situation that led to the shooting of Steven Dodd, then 26, on Feb. 24, 2008, with a pistol in rural Orchard Mesa. Ettinger was not acting in self-defense, Savage argued.

“He used an excessive amount of force,” Savage said of Ettinger. “Telling these guys he was armed and would use his gun, pulling the trigger, cocking the gun two times ...”

Ettinger’s attorney, Ed Nugent, said his client was protecting the area around his home when he approached five people, who seemed to want to cause trouble when they drove up to his neighbor’s trailer home at 3:30 a.m.

“(He) just wanted to go to work and wanted his wife to be safe,” Nugent said. “This was something that didn’t belong there. Where he lives, you have to take care of yourself.”

During the four-day trial, Ettinger testified he saw an unfamiliar vehicle on his neighbor’s property as he was leaving for work that morning, and he went back to his home at 152 Wilson Road to get his gun.

Ettinger said he drove up to the group and talked with a man later identified as Gilbert Manzanares, who said he had permission to be on the property. Ettinger testified that Dodd, who was visibly intoxicated, “mouthed off” and three times tried to hit Ettinger, but was blocked by Manzanares.

Ettinger testified that Manzanares pulled a knife and threatened to cut Ettinger’s throat after
Ettinger told the group he was armed and revealed his gun.

Manzanares, who testified Tuesday, said he did not threaten Ettinger and did not remember pulling out his knife. Manzanares attempted to push Ettinger’s weapon away when it discharged, he said.

Ettinger, who had been free on bond, was booked into Mesa County Jail after the verdict.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 14. Ettinger could face up to three years in prison.


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