DA adds new charges in death of Clifton teen

Prosecutors have added two fresh charges against a Clifton teenager accused in the shooting death of another teenager in September.

In a juvenile petition lodged Tuesday, Kenneth Cates, 16, was formally charged with a new felony count of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor count of prohibited use of a weapon. Cates previously was charged with felony reckless manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence, plus misdemeanor charges of illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile, false reporting to authorities and sentence-enhancer crime-of-violence charges.

Cates remains held without bond at Grand Mesa Youth Detention Center. He surrendered to authorities Oct. 1 after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the death of 16-year-old Troy Martinez.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Cates acknowledged shooting Martinez, whom Cates described as a good friend. Cates said the Sept. 1 shooting was an accident that occurred while playing with a pistol at his mother’s home at 619 Susan St.

Cates told authorities he found the pistol days before in his grandmother’s garage, and he used bullets he found in his mother’s pickup.

The affidavit said Cates initially told Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies at the scene that he was trying to disassemble a .22-caliber bullet when it exploded and fatally wounded Martinez. Cates didn’t acknowledge shooting Martinez until he was formally interviewed by a sheriff’s investigator nearly three weeks later, the affidavit said.


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