Prosecutors won’t seek death in fatal shooting

Robert McCleland

A Grand Junction man accused of fatally shooting his neighbor will not face the death penalty if convicted, attorneys said Monday.

John Burkey, a public defender representing Robert McCleland, 31, told a judge Monday that the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office agreed to remove the possible sanction if McCleland waived his right to a preliminary hearing. McCleland, through his attorney, did just that Monday in District Judge Thomas Deister’s courtroom.

Preliminary hearings allow the defense to test the strength of criminal cases, while judges must determine whether probable cause exists for cases to move forward. Under Colorado law, judges are asked to consider evidence in a light most favorable to prosecutors.

McCleland was ordered to return to court July 6 for arraignment.

He was charged in a 13-count complaint stemming from the March 7 shooting of his neighbor, Andrew Boxa, 27, who authorities say tried to intervene in a domestic dispute involving McCleland and his wife, which spilled to the front yard of the couple’s home in the 2500 block of Texas Avenue.

According to an arrest affidavit, Boxa was shot in the head shortly after McCleland had fired a warning shot from his Glock .40-caliber handgun.

Among others, McCleland faces charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree assault, menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

He is being held at the Mesa County Jail on $1 million bond.


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