Suit filed for slain mother likely headed back to county

A federal lawsuit stemming from the 2008 slaying of a pregnant Grand Junction mother may play out in Mesa County District Court.

Denver Federal Magistrate Judge Kristen Mix recently granted a motion filed by attorneys representing the family of slain Anna Macias that sought to withdraw claims filed in federal court against the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Stan Hilkey.

The case had been filed as an allegation that Macias’  civil rights were violated. The Denver attorneys representing the family now say their case lies in a claim of negligence under state law.

Lodged in July 2009, the lawsuit alleges the March 30, 2008, shooting death of Macias was the “foreseeable result of the unlawful release” of convicted murderer Lonnie Ray Herrera, 43. Herrera had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against Macias, and he mistakenly was allowed to post bond at the Mesa County Jail, nine days before he shot and killed Macias.

Authorities acknowledged that Herrera, a parolee from state prison at the time, should not have been allowed to post bond. The lawsuit centers on a dispute over which entity was responsible for error: the Sheriff’s Department or the Colorado Department Corrections, which oversees parolees.


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