County faults state in release of felon who killed mother
A parole system that failed to respond when told about a man’s arrest in 2008 was partially to blame for the man being released from jail and free to gun down a pregnant woman, Mesa County authorities allege in recent court filings.
In a summary of the county’s defense to a federal lawsuit, the county argues it had no legal right to stop 41-year-old Lonnie Ray Herrera from posting bond in March 2008.
Herrera, a felon with a long rap sheet who was serving parole, shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend, Anna Macias, 23, nine days after he was released from the Mesa County Jail. Macias’ newborn girl was delivered hours after the shooting, but died within two days.
“The state’s parole system did not issue any request to local law enforcement to hold Mr. Herrera,” the county’s summary of its defense reads. “The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department was not negligent and, in fact, provided required specific notice to the state parole system that a parolee was imprisoned.”
Herrera was arrested in Delta County on March 17, 2008, on suspicion of domestic violence against Macias. He was transferred to Mesa County two days later. Herrera posted bond March 21.
Authorities acknowledged that Herrera’s parole status should have prevented him from posting bond that day.
Macias’ mother, Angelice Trujillo, has named Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey and three deputies in a wrongful death lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Denver. The deputies names were not provided.
Monetary damages being sought from the county are not specified, and the family’s lawsuit does not name state parole officials.
The county said in a court filing that Macias assisted Herrera in posting bond March 21 and unsuccessfully tried to remove a temporary restraining order between the two of them days prior to her murder.
Herrera is serving a prison sentence of 102 years related to the slaying.