Slaying suspect killed no one, attorneys argue

Billy Joe Delacey



Public defenders for a former Fruita man accused of killing a male escort he met for a massage and sex in late July 2011 presented evidence Friday in court that they say proves their client is innocent.

Friday’s court appearance for Billy Delacey was slated as a bond hearing.

Mesa County District Judge Richard Gurley denied a reduction on Delacey’s $1 million cash bond, but said he would reconsider and issue a bond reduction if defense attorneys could prove their client had a stable place to live if he bonded out of jail.

Delacey also had a trial set in his case for three weeks starting Jan. 13, 2014.

Delacey was indicted by a Mesa County grand jury in September 2012 on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, possession of sexually exploitative materials and misdemeanor theft in connection with the July 31, 2011, slaying of 26-year-old, Luis “Beto” Oliva at his apartment in Fruita.

Public Defender Matt Mulch argued in court Friday that phone records and the first conversation investigators had with Oliva’s boyfriend, Brandon Wathan, indicate Oliva was not murdered at the time prosecutors indicate he was; therefore their client was not at the apartment at the time of the crime. Also, Mulch said a mentally unstable neighbor in Oliva’s apartment complex whom defenders referred to as “DL” and who previously spoke about killing his own roommate, might be the suspect in the case.

“My client did not kill Beto,” Mulch said. “Somebody brutally killed Beto but it was not Mr. Delacey. When I look at the evidence I can’t understand why I’m not representing DL. Maybe he’s not the suspect but it’s not Billy Delacey.”

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said he disputed a number of claims raised by Mulch that the public defender had displayed in a PowerPoint presentation in the courtroom. Hautzinger said everyone involved in the case except Delacey had alibis that checked out and that prosecutors would hire their own expert to review the cell phone records.

“I object to how today turned into a mini trial,” Hautzinger said. “I do not think it’s appropriate and I absolutely dispute a number of points.”

Judge Gurley said he did not object to the presentation by the defense. However, he said it was unusual and it marked the first time he’s taken in a PowerPoint presentation during a bond hearing.


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