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Decapitated body may have been work of serial killer


Name: Harry Redden, 46
Body found:In field behind Union Station
Investigation agency: Police Department
Date killed: Nov. 17, 1999
Cause of Death Decapitated
Suspect: None

Harry J. Redden Jr. was one of hundreds of anonymous vagabonds who slept on heating grates and begged for money along the 16th Street Mall.

Harry J. Redden Jr., 46

Harry J. Redden Jr., 46

The only way his identity became known to the thousands who streamed by him every day was on days his presence annoyed someone so much he called the police.

There were arrests for public urination, violating park curfews and public intoxication. On Christmas Eve of 1997 he was arrested at 800 15th St. for trespassing – a common arrest for him. The pattern continued for years.

On Sept. 8, 1999, he was arrested for public consumption of alcohol on the 1500 block of 15th Street.

It put him at the epicenter of street violence against homeless men.

That same month a string of murders of the homeless began.

In a three-month span from September to November 1999, seven homeless men were killed around downtown.

The 1999 murders were shocking in their brutality. Several victims were beaten to death.

By the time the bodies of Donald Dyer, George Worth, Melvin Washington, Milo Harris and Kenneth Rapp were found, the mounting numbers had police and homeless advocates warning that a serial killer or killers were on the prowl.

Redden and Joe Mendoza were found decapitated behind Union Station on Nov. 17, 1999.

Redden had light hazel eyes that sparkled out of a weathered, sun-burned face.

He wasn’t anonymous to everyone. He had a family that mourned his loss and wonder if anything will ever be done to solve the murder.

Three days are particularly difficult for Redden’s younger brother David: Harry Redden’s birthday on October 3; the day his brother’s broken body was found; and Dec. 21, 1999, the day the family finally got his body for burial.

Another of Redden’s brothers, Jack, has said he worries the case may never be solved.

Since his brother’s headless body was found on his wedding anniversary, Jack Redden and his wife, Stacy, have struggled to keep the details of Harry Redden’s death away from their children.

Only one of the seven murders of homeless men during those three violent months of 1999 has ever been solved.

A group of so-called “mall rats,” homeless teenagers who hung out along the 16th Street Mall, were arrested in connection with Washington’s death and two other beatings.

In Washington’s case, the younger homeless men were infuriated because they thought Washington had infringed on their turf to ask for spare change – “spanging” in homeless lingo. Drugged up, they later saw him sleeping on a grate and stomped him to death.

Christopher Ball, 16 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years in prison; Thomas Holden 19, was sentenced to 25 years; Nathan Harrison, 20, was sentenced to 16 years.

When the author later interviewed Ball in prison, he scoffed at claims he’s a serial killer.

Ball said he thinks most of the other murders of homeless men in the fall of 1999 were unconnected. There never was a serial killer stalking LoDo, he said. That was just media hype.

Capt. Dave Abrams has also said police don’t believe the same group killed all seven men.

In the remaining murders, police have investigated every lead, including the Freight Train Riders of America, a loosely knit group of violent homeless men who ride the rails from town to town.

The Redden family has not heard anything since Harry Redden was murdered.

“Our family is looking for answers,” David Redden said. I just feel that our family deserves some sort of closure. … I think we deserve something. I cannot tell you how difficult is was to hear that a member of your family has been murdered, and that you would have to wait 4 days before Christmas to bury what was left to his broken body.”

Contact information: The Police Department can be reached at 720-913-7867. Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Man bludgeoned with hammer while preparing for new life


Victim’s name: Erickson Daniel Scott, 28
Where body found: His apartment at 358 Lincoln St.
Investigative agency: Denver police
Date killed: May 29, 2001
Cause of Death: beaten with hammer
Suspect: none identified

Given up at birth and twice by successive adoptive parents, Erickson Daniel Scott learned early to fend for himself.

Erickson Daniel Scott, courtesy Pamela Rieke

Erickson Daniel Scott, courtesy Pamela Rieke

When he turned 18, he graduated from California’s foster care system to the streets, where he survived by selling marijuana to homeless kids.

He moved to California and later to Denver in a few years.

“He kind of showed up one day and offered to do work at some apartments I owned in exchange for rent,” said Evan Frank, 47.

It was a move up from the streets where Scott had been a popular figure among teens and young adults referred to by 16th Street Mall vendors as mall rats.

Scott had unusual responsibilities at the apartments: He picked up trash and he settled disputes by the young, drug-using renters in a role much like a bouncer, Frank said.

“It was a rougher neighborhood,” he said. “He was good at stepping in and making sure calmer heads prevailed. He was a good people person. But when he needed to get into peoples’ face he could do that, too. He didn’t have to use his fists. It was more intimidation.”

Scott didn’t have a family so his mall rat friends became his unofficial family.

“Princess,” a 15-year-old homeless girl who met Scott in the mid-1990s, said after her parents kicked her out of their home she and her friend Erin were welcome to crash at Scott’s house at 358 Lincoln St. whenever they needed to.

“It wasn’t like he was going to molest us,” Princess said. “I was like his kid sister. I felt safe around him.”

At the same time she was a little bit afraid of him. He was a drug dealer who sported a blue Mohawk. He had about four guns and kept a 9-mm hand gun near his bed. It was the nature of the business he was in. But with Princess and Erin, he only showed his softer side.

One Thanksgiving he invited the two girls to his house for dinner.

“‘I’m going to make you a feast. He cooked this small turkey and a big dinner. He really made me feel loved,” she said.

That wasn’t unusual for him, Frank said. Scott often bought blankets, clothes or food for the mall rats, he said. Though he started to acquire possessions including a prized vintage green scooter, he never forgot his friends.

“He had a certain charisma,” Frank said. “People gravitated towards him.”

Scott was an intelligent person, he said.

“You would say he was street smart, but there was a different level of intelligence.”

Scott had a beloved Afghan hound named Tazzy that he doted on. He also got heavily involved with a crowd of scooter enthusiasts. He would go on rallies. He mingled with people of widely different interests and backgrounds.

Frank said Scott had a tough time settling into a legitimate career. He delivered pizzas. But most of his income – anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 a month – was derived from the drug trade.

Frank was trying to get him to invest his money in a legitimate business, counseling him like he would a younger brother.

Scott often was drawn to different careers seemingly on the spur of the moment. At one point he decided on a career as a D.J.

“He wanted to be a D.J. so he bought a bunch of expensive equipment,” Frank said. “Eric was the type of person who always reinvented himself.”

Another time, after Princess fixed his aching back, he wanted to be a masseuse. He enrolled in college courses at Metropolitan State College.

Then in the Spring of 2001, Scott went on a vacation to California, met a guy who had a surfing shop and decided on the spur of the moment that he was going to invest in the shop and move west.

After he returned home, he was on a mission. He was selling his drug stash, his expensive stereo equipment and a motorcycle. He was liquidating so that he could invest in the surf shop, Frank said.

“That’s probably what triggered the attack. He had a lot of cash in his apartment,” he said.

Scott stuffed thousands of dollars he accrued by selling drugs and his possessions in a bank bag he put in a microwave oven.

“It wasn’t hidden that well,” Frank said. Word got out that he was putting away a lot of cash in his apartment.

On May 28, 2001, Frank talked to his friend for the last time. Scott was smoking weed. He said he was determined to go straight – at least he wasn’t going to sell pot any more. He wasn’t going to give up smoking it, Frank said. Scott was excited about becoming a legitimate business man.

Late that night someone snuck into Scott’s apartment and pummeled him in the head. Blood was pooled in his bed, splattered on the walls and on the carpet. Scott was 28.

“Someone pretty much caved in his head with a hammer,” Frank said.

His girlfriend found his body the next morning.

In the days after the , a young mall rat who regularly carried a hammer around with him was boasting that he had killed Scott.

Police interviewed the man but didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest, Frank said. He fears the case wasn’t a high priority.

Officers showed mall rats a picture of a suspect, but the young man with a reputation for violence was never arrested in the case.

“The street kids were scared of this guy and didn’t want to give names,” Frank said.

Lt. Matt Murray, spokesman for the Denver Police Department, said the case was reopened as a cold case in recent years.

He said he could not comment on the status of the investigation or whether there is a suspect.

Frank adopted Tazzy and took care of his friend’s prized pet for years until he finally had to put the ailing animal down.

“It was like I lost that connection with my friend,” he said. “It was like going through it all over again.”

Contact information: The Denver Police Department can be reached at 720-913-7867.
Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Colorado Springs socialite murdered in home


Victim’s name: , 55
Where body found: on kitchen floor at 2222 Constellation Dr.
Investigative agency: Colorado Springs Police Department
Date killed: Oct. 25, 1986
Cause of Death: Multiple gunshots
Suspect: None identified

Barbara Freyschlag, courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department

, courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department

attended a party at the exclusive private downtown El Paso Club on Saturday evening, Oct. 25, 1986.

The athletic 55-year-old socialite left home alone around 8:30 p.m., telling friends she was anxious to see the World Series.

She turned her TV on to the NBC station that was carrying the sixth game of the World Series between the and the New York Mets. Freyschlag was an avid sportswoman who owned a ski shop in Colorado Springs and a ski rental business at .

The iconic baseball game ended suddenly in the 10th inning at 10:40 p.m. when a softly hit ball hit to first base went through the legs of Bill Buckner and the Mets won the game. The Mets won the next game and the series.

Police believe that about as the game ended or shortly thereafter, Freyschlag’s killer entered the ranch-style home and shot her to death, according to news reports at the time.

She may have let her killer into the sprawling three-level rustic home nestled in a heavily wooded area, police speculated.

The killer did not sexually assault or rob the wealthy woman. detectives believe that she either knew her killer or that the killer had a key to the house.

Her friends told reporters at the time that they did not believe she would have left her door unlocked or let someone in the house she did not know. Five years earlier, she had come out of her shower to find two teen boys in her house. She chased them off. The experience made her wary, according to news reports.

She was shot three times in the head and once in the chest with a .38-caliber hand gun. It was overkill.

Police did not find the shell casings or the gun. Neighbors in the affluent neighborhood did not hear any gunshots the night before. Freyschlag was wearing a slip and housecoat. She was only a few feet from the back door.

Her husband, K.G. Freyschlag, was on a business trip to Reno, Nev. At the time, he was the president of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He was arranging accommodations for a Colorado Springs group planning to go to Reno to try to persuade the to pick Colorado Springs as the home of the Olympic Hall of Fame.

He discovered his wife’s body face up and sprawled out on the kitchen floor of their home at 2222 Constellation Dr. She was missing an artificial fingernail from her left hand, possibly indicating she fought with her killer.

At the time, authorities indicated the fingernail could have the killer’s skin. Police didn’t say at the time whether they found the fingernail.

When he returned home the next evening, the TV was still on in the living room.

Freyschlag, who had two sons and a daughter, had been an active community volunteer with the , children’s theater groups and the , according to a Post article.

More than 1,000 people attended her funeral at the Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus.

A $60,000 reward was offered for information leading to Freyschlag’s arrest. The high reward was advertised in magazine. Leads poured in from Miami to Boston about similar crimes. Authorities contacted law enforcement agencies in Europe and Canada.

Two years after her murder, the FBI assigned 12 agents to the case. At the time, FBI agent Dick Schussler said the high number of agents were brought in hoping to blanket the case and solve the crime. But no promising leads were uncovered.

Despite spending thousands of hours investigating the case Colorado Springs detectives were never able to find a motive for her murder.

Contact information: The Colorado Springs Police Department can be reached at 719-385-2489. Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Woman stabbed 12 times and dumped in ditch


Victim’s name: Rosa Joan Arguello, 30
Where body found: in a ditch along the 12900 block of Quebec Street
Investigative agency: Thornton Police Department
Date killed: Oct. 17, 2003
Cause of Death: Stabbed 12 times
Person of Interest: James Joseph Armijo

Rosa Joan Arguello struggled to speak after she was stricken by meningitis as a young child.

Rosa Arguello, 30, courtesy Thornton Police Department

Rosa Arguello, 30, courtesy Thornton Police Department

“She was 5 before anyone ever understood what she was saying,” her mother Arizona Humeyumptewa-Winters said.

She had difficulty likewise learning to read and to do math in school. Her challenges spilled over into her adult life, Humeyumptewa-Winters said.

Arguello was only able to find minimum-wage jobs and often lived on the street.

She was very trusting; too trusting of the wrong types of people, Humeyumptewa-Winters said. She often bounced from homes of one undesirable acquaintance to the next.

“She was very gullible. She befriended people she shouldn’t have. She didn’t live the best life,” her mother said. “I was always worried about her out there on the street. I didn’t know how to reach her.”

Whenever Arguello had a child – she had three – the child was given up for adoption, twice with extended family. She had two boys and a girl.

But what Arguello’s mother loved most about her was that she had a golden heart. As a child she often mopped the kitchen floor for an elderly woman who lived up the street or ran errands for her. Even though she didn’t get paid, she loved being with her. She had a great respect for the elderly, she said.

Arguello also loved children and sometimes got work baby-sitting. She wouldn’t just watch the kids. She liked to do fun activities with them like painting designs with fingernail polish on pine cones.

She had a distinctive laugh and she was always laughing.

“She had a laugh that made other people laugh,” Humeyumptewa-Winters said. “She was so sweet. She was my baby.”

Humeyumptewa-Winters sometimes helped her daughter get jobs. Arguello cleaned houses, she said.

Arguello had a succession of bad relationships with men, her mother said.

One particularly bad connection was with the father of one of her sons, James Joseph Armijo.

“I don’t think he treated her very well,” she said.

Two weeks before Arguello went missing, she visited her mother’s house.

“She was lying on my bed and I was stroking her hair,” Humeyumptewa-Winters said. “I was telling her she could do better than she was. She could go back to school. I told her she was smart and could do anything she wanted to. She talked about starting her own cleaning service.”

It wouldn’t be.

Arguello’s body was found Oct. 17, 2003 in a ditch along the 12900 block of Quebec Street. She had been stabbed 12 times including in the heart.

In doing so, the killer permanently injured her mother’s heart as well.

“I can’t believe anybody could do that,” Humeyumptewa-Winters said. “I believe some people are walking, breathing dead people with no soul.”

Thornton police interviewed Armijo, along with several other “persons of interest,” but no arrest was made, said Thornton Det. Shawn O’Keefe. He denied having anything to do with her death.

James Joseph Armijo, courtesy Colorado Department of Corrections

James Joseph Armijo, courtesy Colorado Department of Corrections

Armijo’s name came up again a year later, though.

On Sept. 22, 2004, his 44-year-old former girlfriend Jacklyn Oetker’s body was found decomposing in a Chevrolet Blazer at the southwest corner of a parking lot at West 100th Avenue and Wadsworth Parkway.

She had been stabbed 30 times and had been left in the car several days. Westminster detectives found her after relatives reported her missing.

On Sept. 16, 2004, the night Oetker failed to make it home, Westminster police had contact with Armijo at a King Soopers store in the same shopping center where Oetker’s body was found.

Armijo had called police to the grocery store and claimed he was an FBI agent and that three men were after him, according to a Denver Post article.

The police officer who responded thought Armijo was “delusional.” Armijo was last seen walking across the parking lot toward the area where Oetker’s body was later found.

Armijo, a convicted felon who had molested a child in New Mexico, was 33 at the time. He was charged and convicted of killing Oetker and sentenced to life in prison.

Though police tried to find a connection to Arguello’s similar knifing death, it has yet to be found. But Armijo has not been excluded as a possible suspect either.

O’Keefe has travelled to New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois tracking down leads in the case over the years.
“We’ve been quite active on it,” he said.

Armijo remains a person of interest in Arguello’s stabbing but there are others who have also been investigated.

O’Keefe recently sent evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s crime laboratory for testing. He is awaiting the results.

“We’re hoping new technology will help identify the killer,” he said.

Arguello’s death has always puzzled O’Keefe.

“I don’t know why anyone would have a motive to kill her,” he said.

O’Keefe hopes someone will come forward and divulge what they know about the case.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that he has not given up,” Humeyumptewa-Winters said of O’Keefe’s pursuit of his daughter’s killer. “He is just tireless.”

She said it’s been impossible to recover from her daughter’s murder.

“I’ll be in a store and hear a laugh that reminds me of her,” Humeyumptewa-Winters said. “Sometimes you dream and she’s there and then you wake and you realize she’s not there and it’s not real. It never goes away.”

Contact information: Det. Shawn O’Keefe can be reached at 720-977-5043. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Murder witness gunned down two days after trial


Victim’s name: Terry Morgan, 30
Where murdered: 3680 Oneida St.
Investigative agency: Denver Police
Date killed: Feb. 9, 1992
Cause of Death: Shot
Suspect: none identified

Terry Morgan was the star witness in a first-degree trial in February of 1992.

Terry Morgan, 30, courtesy Denver Police Department

Terry Morgan, 30, courtesy Denver Police Department

But two days after a judge declared a mistrial against Sean Maurice Johnson, then 29, someone gunned him down while standing in a crowd of people outside a Denver home.

The deputy district attorney, Duncan DeVille, told a reporter that Morgan was the star witness during the trial.

Morgan was going to testify again at a new trial the following month.

He was with Kareem Guidry when his 19-year-old friend was fatally shot in the neck on April 30, 1991 in the Dahlia Square Shopping Center.

Prosecutors later dropped charges against Johnson to reckless manslaughter.

At the time of Morgan’s shooting police speculated that he was killed in random gang violence.

Morgan was linked to gangs. He was with a crowd of people outside a home at 3680 Oneida St. when a car drove by and someone inside it fired several shots.

People who were at a party with Morgan returned fire.

Like Guidry, Morgan was shot in the neck.

No one has ever been arrested in Morgan’s .

Johnson was out of prison on parole within seven years and has since been arrested for numerous crimes including resisting police officers, drug offenses, escape and assaults.

Contact information: Denver Crime Stoppers can be reached at (720) 913-7867. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Springs Safeway manager kidnapped, shot


Victim’s name: Victor Dee McClendon, 32
Where body found:Adams County barn
Investigative agency: Colorado Springs Police
Date kidnapped: Jan. 11, 1975
Cause of Death:Shot
Suspect: None identified

Victor D. McClendon’s silver wire-rim glasses, suit and bushy eyebrows made the young Safeway grocery manager appear much older than his age of 32.

Victor McClendon, 32, courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department.

Victor McClendon, 32, courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department.

The La Junta native had been working at the store for five years including posts as produce manager, grocery clerk and assistant manager up until only a month earlier when he was promoted to manager. He was married to Jo Ann and the couple had two boys, ages 2 and 5.

But no amount of experience would have prepared him for what happened on the morning of Jan. 11, 1975.

On that morning he left his wife at about 7 a.m. wearing a bronze shirt and striped brown tie to get the store ready for its 9 a.m. opening.

Three Safeway employees were also working in the store at the time when he arrived for work at 2300 E. Pikes Peak Ave. They saw him at 7:45 a.m., but did not see or hear the robbery.

A back door to the store was open and sources speculated that is where robbers entered. McClendon may have heard a knock at the door and thinking it was a delivery man opened it. At some point, they confronted McClendon and forced him to open a safe. A total of $1,400 cash was stolen. The entire confrontation took less than 15 minutes.

By 8:15 a.m., one of the other Safeway employees saw that the cage doors to the store safe were ajar, according to accounts by a series of Denver Post articles from January 1975 to 1977. The employees searched inside and outside the building and when they couldn’t find McClendon but did see his car in the parking lot, they called police at 8:39 a.m.

McClendon was very trustworthy and his boss immediately concluded that he was kidnapped. Furthermore, he had access to another lock box filled with money in the store, which wasn’t touched.

Police immediately initiated a widescale dragnet, using a helicopter to search for him.

The FBI put out a five-state bulletin searching for his whereabouts, according to the Denver Post article.

The case was immediately a big story that triggered odd reactions.

The day after the kidnapping, a 21-year-old El Paso County Sheriff’s dispatcher allegedly demanded a $100,000 ransom over a citizen’s band radio. He was arrested that Sunday and denied involvement.

The following Saturday at 4:20 p.m., only a week after his disappearance, five children who were hunting pigeons found McClendon’s body in an abandoned garage near East 54th Avenue and Franklin Street.

He was blindfolded and still wearing an apron with his Safeway badge pinned to it. Adams County Sheriff’s deputies identified him using identification cards in his wallet.

Investigators believed that someone using a shotgun shot McClendon in the back. There was a gaping hole in his back and powder burns.

Safeway offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The grocery chain closed seven stores in Colorado Springs on the day of McClendon’s funeral so its employees could attend.

The next month, police arrested Charles Brown, then 23, after he allegedly cashed 13 gift certificates from the Colorado Springs Safeway store where the robbery happened in a Denver suburb.

He had cashed the gift certificates the day after the kidnapping using the alias Jerome Curtis.

Authorities later charged Myron Dawson, then 24, and Brown with kidnapping and murder. Those charges were dismissed in 1977 on a technicality linked to a grand jury that indicted the murder suspects.

Judge Donald E. Campbell tossed the case on the grounds that only the foreman and not the entire grand jury saw the indictment document before it was handed down by the panel on April 11, 1977.

Although prosecutors vowed to file charges again against the pair, those charges were never brought.

Contact information: The Colorado Springs Police Department can be reached at 719-444-7613 or CSPDHomicide@springsgov.com Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

17-year-old hitch-hiker beaten, killed


Victim’s name: Linda Hutchings, 17
Investigative agency: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Date killed: Aug. 15, 1979
Cause of Death: Not disclosed.
Suspect: None

Linda Hutchings burst out of the front door when she saw her older brother Alan strolling up the sidewalk of their Arvada home.

“Look, look,” Linda squealed almost breathless as she pointed up at the sky and thrust binoculars at him.

Linda Hutchings, 17, courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Linda Hutchings, 17, courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

A thunderhead was billowing high above them.

That was Linda, recalled her brother while fighting back tears. The pretty blonde girl, who often flashed a gleaming smile, was thrilled by simple pleasures.

When the family went to her uncle’s cabin in the mountains she would unroll a sleeping bag outside on the pine needles and lay under the stars. She loved nature.

Linda often scampered after squirrels, threw frisbees and when Alan got out his harmonica, she ran into the kitchen to retrieve spoons to play on her knees.

Linda loved to draw portraits of people and animals and dreamed of becoming a professional artist. She would pull out her favorite records and play them over and over.

The last time her family heard her joyous voice was on Aug. 15, 1979. On that day she went to her boyfriend’s apartment in Lakewood.

Family friend Ron Weaver said her boyfriend was several years older than Linda. He was drinking heavily that night. There was a good chance they were also using drugs, acknowledged Linda’s brother Alan.

Weaver said her boyfriend fell asleep. She was going to school the next morning and had to get home. Her boyfriend had a temper and she didn’t want to wake him up, he said.

She left a note in the early morning hours saying she was headed home. She didn’t mention how she was going to get there, whether she found someone to give her a ride.

Linda was wearing white jeans, a white peasant-style top with embroidery and tennis shoes. She may have been wearing a red coat.

It was too far to walk, so friends and family believe she did what many teens did back then: hitch-hike.

Later that morning, the frantic boyfriend drove to the Hutchings’ home. He had a bad feeling about it. He was right. Linda hadn’t made it home, Alan Hutchings said.

Carmalina Hutchings, Linda’s mother, immediately called Arvada police. She was very worried. But a police officer told her that she probably just ran away. He told the family more time had to pass before she could file a missing person’s report.

“We were in a panic and they kept insisting there was no problem,” Alan Hutchings said.

But Linda had never run away from home before. She had always been reliable and loved school.

The Hutchings family looked everywhere they thought she might go including truck stops and called everyone they knew who had any contact with her with no luck.

The tall girl with an effervescent personality had vanished.

Two weeks later, a family was doing the same kind of thing Linda would love to do – picking cattails – when they made a gruesome discovery.

Linda’s body had been tossed down an embankment near Indiana and West 82nd Avenue. Whoever left her body had beaten her, said Cheryl Moore, cold case investigator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Soon afterward, professed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to Linda’s murder as part of a nation-wide rampage in which he killed 600. But his boasts would prove to be lies and he later recanted. No new suspect has been identified, Moore said.

“It’s just a huge mystery,” Weaver said. “Who did she run into that night? Who murdered her? It was a sad shocking thing to all of us.”

Moore said no DNA tests have yet been performed in her case.

Alan Hutchings said he hopes authorities do everything they can to solve his sister’s murder including DNA tests.

Contact information: Cheryl Moore of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (303) 271-5625, or cmoore@jeffco.us.
Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or mitchell@denverpost.com

Bleeding nude woman chased onto Interstate 25 in desperate attempt to save life


Victim’s name: , 36
Where body found: I-25 and 18th Street
Investigative agency: police
Date killed: April 7, 1992
Cause of Death: Run over by truck
Suspect: None identified

Ellyn Hoge, 36, Courtesy Denver Police DepartmentCourtesy Department

Ellyn Hoge

was 13 when she and her classmates talked about the nude woman whose body was shattered in a collision with a semi-tractor trailer on .

The Merrill Junior High School student was in history class that day — April 8, 1992.

“How sad,” she told her classmates. “That was someone’s sister, daughter and mother.”

As it turned out, it was her own mother.

But Ciari had no idea initially because she had been living with her grandparents since she was 9 years old.

“I got a note in class that said go straight home,” Ciari said.

She was rebellious and sometimes took the long way home, but the note was so odd, she rushed to her house.

When she arrived, her grandfather, who never cried, was sitting on the couch sobbing. A stranger was in the living room. He stood and said he was a victim assistance officer.

“Is my mother dead?” Ciari asked immediately.

“Please sit down,” he said.

“Is my mother dead?” Ciari repeated.

“You need to sit down,” he said.

When she did, the officer confirmed what Ciari feared would happen ever to her mother since she was a small child.

“When she was a mother, she was the best mother you ever asked for, but I didn’t always get those moments because she was on ,” said Ciari, a mortgage industry analyst in California.

Ellyn Leslie Hoge started using drugs when she was 15 and was in and out of jail for drug and charges most of her adult life. Ciari was her only child.

They had a haphazard existence. She recalled her mother driving a powder blue , searching for drug dealers to score dope. But Hoge also read to her and encouraged her to achieve more than she had.

“The drug addiction clearly put a lot of stress on the relationship,” Ciari said.

There were some harrowing moments. When Ciari was 7, she saw her mother burst out of a house, dash to her car and dive in. But before she could speed away, a man ran out and put three bullet holes in the car’s bumper.

Another time, her mother was in a hotel room, convulsing, vomiting and sweating.

“I couldn’t get her to drink water,” she said.

Ciari and her mother had a relationship in which the two were brutally honest with each other. She could tell her mother that she hated her and her mother would admit her drug addiction.

“You want your parents to be something more,” Ciari said. “We moved every six months. I think the prostitution started about the time I moved out.”

After Ciari went to live with her grandparents, her mother sent her cards for Halloween, Christmas and her birthday. She often called and told Ciari that she loved her no matter what was happening in her life.

The last months Hoge’s life, she was living in a halfway house for drug addicts and waitressing at a local Waffle House. She escaped from the halfway house while on probation.

A few days before she was murdered, Hoge called her daughter Jennifer on the phone to tell her she had to get a suitcase.

Police later told Ciari that a man her mother once lived with was sending her money from by . A detective said she was trusting and likely told the wrong person about the money.

On April 7, Hoge was apparently so terrified she ran onto Interstate 25 near the 18th Street exit, trying to flag down cars. It was 3 a.m.

The 36-year-old woman didn’t have a stitch of clothing on and was bleeding from several wounds. Some witnesses say they saw a man chasing her.

A tractor-trailer truck couldn’t stop. It slammed into her, throwing her more than 100 feet. The accident finished what someone had apparently been trying to do. She was dead.

When police found her body in the highway they could tell why she was running. Someone had her numerous times, and she had run into the busy highway in a last desperate attempt to save her life.

Ciari was only a teenager, but she wanted to hear exactly what happened to her mother. She asked a detective how many times her mother had been stabbed.

He told her that her mother’s body was so mangled that they couldn’t be sure, but the detective’s best guess was between nine and 13 times.

The detective said the killer may have stripped her while searching for money she was to get from Western Union. She also may have been raped.

“When you experience these things as a kid, it’s no surprise that your parent dies like that — only when they die,” Ciari said.

A decade after her mother was murdered, Ciari returned to Colorado and pulled all of her mother’s criminal records.

Despite her mother’s failings, Ciari still loved her and wanted to know everything about her life.

“She was somebody,” Ciari said. “She could have been a lot more. I loved her.”

Contact information: The Denver Police Department can be reached at 720-913-7867. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com.

Suspected spree killer gunned down


Victim’s name: Michael Martinez, 18
Where body found: Near
Investigative agency: Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office
Date killed: Sept. 7, 1998
Cause of Death:
Suspect: None identified

Michael Martinez wasn’t a sympathetic murder victim. Investigators believe he was a cold-blooded killer who slaughtered friends who snitched on him in a whirlwind Labor-day shooting spree in 1998.

Michael Martinez, 18courtesy of Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

Michael Martinez, 18

But investigators believe that whoever shot him hasn’t been brought to justice and could still pose a threat to other people.

Michael was extremely troubled. and Cherry Creek Prep expelled him. His rap sheet was growing while he was a child.

In 1998, a younger brother him and seriously injured him.

By , he and 17-year-old were on a tear and their targets were their own friends in an neighborhood.

Before the day was over, Martinez turned from being the hunter to the hunted. His body was found in a field northeast of the Park Meadows Mall. He had been shot 13 times.

It was “an abrupt, strange ending to a horror-filled and tragic weekend,” according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office website.

At first, Arapahoe County investigators believed his accomplice in the crime spree, Pogosyan, killed him to silence him.

But he hadn’t been shot with the same kind of weapon as those used in the killing .

According to an online description of the cold case on the sheriff’s office website, the investigation steered toward others close to the violent pair.

Arapahoe County prosecutors charged Pogosyan with five murder counts. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Arapahoe Co. Courthouse: Families of victims of Labor Day mass shooting attend sentencing of Alex Pogosyan, 17 years old,convicted of taking part in slaying. Photo of Alex & his attorneys, Alex's looking towards the back of courtroom.John Prieto, Denver Post staff photographer

Arapahoe Co. Courthouse: Families of victims of Labor Day mass shooting attend sentencing of Alex Pogosyan, 17 years old,convicted of taking part in slaying. Photo of Alex & his attorneys, Alex's looking towards the back of courtroom.

Though he fled and never testified in person at Pogosyan’s trial, offered a glimpse of what happened that violent Labor Day in an interview with police.

Martirosyan said he drove Pogosyan and Martinez to an Aurora townhome that afternoon, thinking they just wanted to store two guns with their friends who lived there, according to a Denver Post article. They carried shotguns into the home at about 1 p.m.

Within moments, gunfire erupted from the home at 2004 S. Paris Way. He heard about four or five shots.

“Two seconds later, they walked out and got into the back seat,” Martirosyan told police. “Mike was excited. He said, ‘I blew his brains out.”’

Martirosyan told police Pogosyan was carrying a shotgun but said nothing. Martinez then announced he wanted to find his girlfriend and kill her. Alexander Pogosyan’s brother, Roman, also was in the car, he said.

“‘They all snitched on me, and I’m going to get them,”’ Martinez said, Martirosyan told police.

Police found the bodies of and Zack Obert, both 18, at the Morales home at 2004 S. Paris Way.

Martinez persuaded Pogosyan to accompany him on the trip to the home of his girlfriend, Martirosyan said, but he told police that he refused to drive them any further. He said he dropped the pair off at the Martinez house.

“‘We were real mad at them for what they were doing,”’ Martirosyan said of Martinez and Pogosyan.

Morales’ girlfriend, Anuschka Ganji, 18, testified at Pogosyan’s trial that he brought two shotguns to a party at Morales’ home a week before the killings. Martinez said he and Pogosyan thought had
snitched on them and they were going to kill her.

Police alleged that Pogosyan and Martinez then went to 11898 E. Harvard Avenue and killed Greg Medla,
18, Penny Bowman Medla, 37, and Marissa Avalos, 16.

About 9:30 p.m. that night, Martirosyan said Alex Pogosyan called him, sounding dejected.

“‘They got Mike. I’m just sitting here at home waiting for Mike,”’ Martirosyan said Pogosyan told him.

Martirosyan was released after the interview and disappeared. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on first-degree murder charges. Martirosyan may have fled the country.

No one has ever been caught in the Martinez shooting.

Contact information: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 303-795-4711. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Weld Co. woman dumped with toddler beside road


Victim’s name: Marjorie “Margie” Fithian, 23
Where body found: county road near Roggen
Investigative agency: Weld County Sheriff’s Office
Date killed: June 24, 1975
Cause of Death:
Suspects: Robert Davis, Jerry Eugene Walker, Vern Hudson and Larry Hernandez

The scene a ranchhand near Roggen found that summer day was sad.

Majorie "Margie" Fithian with 18-month-old son, courtesy Weld County Sheriff's Office

An 18-month-old, golden-haired toddler clenched his mother’s hand as she was bleeding to death with two gunshot wounds to the head.

Marjorie “Margie” Fithian died on the way to a hospital in Brighton.

Weld County sheriff’s investigators concluded that Fithian had been shot shortly before she was found next to her son, who was not harmed. Witnesses saw a light yellow or tan midsized two-door car leave the area shortly after the shooting.

Clues indicated that she had been shot somewhere else and driven to the rural dirt road.

Investigators learned that the day before, Majorie’s uncle had left her at a bus depot in down town on June 23, 1975, the day before she was shot.

She was going to catch a bus to Greeley the following day.

Several men allegedly picked up the victim and her son from the parking lot of the Picadilly Restaurant in Denver.

Two months later, someone called Weld County sheriff’s investigators and said Jerry Eugene Walker had shown them three pictures of Fithian that had been taken after she was mortally shot.

Deputies arrested Walker on Aug. 27, 1975. But the next month he was released.

Walker died three weeks later while sitting in a living room chair. An Autopsy did not determine the cause of death.

During the course of the investigation, investigators identified three other suspects, Robert Davis, Vern Hudson and Larry Hernandez.

There are several other persons of interest in the case.

Hudson died in 2006.

Contact information: The Weld County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (970) 356-4000. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Aurora woman’s dismembered body dumped in Glenwood Springs


Victim’s name: Janine Johler, 38
Where body found: In apple orchard near
Investigative agency: Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Date missing: May 7, 2009
Suspect: none identified

The mystery began on a warm June 12, 2009 day in an apple orchard about five miles west of Glenwood Springs.

A teen-age boy who worked for the orchard owned by Kirstie Steiner found something wrapped in plastic buried under a stack of branches.

A woman’s body was inside a tattered plastic bag.

It was obvious that animals had been tearing at the bag to get at the woman’s remains.

Not all of her remains were recovered at the dump site, according to a report by the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.

The location where someone had dumped the body was about 20 feet off of Canyon Creek Road and about a quarter mile from Interstate 70.

A criminal investigation was begun. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office scoured the orchard.

A long line of investigators walked through the orchard searching for clues.

The coroner’s office later determined with fingerprints that the body was that of an woman, Janine Ann Johler.

The 38-year-old woman hadn’t been seen for a little over a month.

Janine Ann Johler, courtesy of FBIKirk Mitchell, The Post

Janine Ann Johler, courtesy of FBI

Her family reported her as a missing person on May 7, according to the FBI report.

Friends who knew Johler told investigators that she had a diminished mental capacity. She also had been in a car accident and was physically disabled as well. She had a limp.

In the years before her death, she had filed three requests for restraining orders against a man who was in jail at the time of Johler’s disappearance.

She had a minor criminal record, including a 2001 conviction for in Denver, according to court records.

The FBI, Aurora police department, Garfield Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Denver metro law enforcement continue to investigate the case.

Contact information: Garfield County Crime Stoppers can be reached at 970-945-0101 and Denver Metro Crime Stopper can be reached at 720-913-7867. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Elderly woman attacked in home, strangled


Victim’s name: Frances Earnest, 70
Where body found: Upstairs bedroom on bed
Investigative agency: Department
Date killed: July 2, 1986
Cause of Death: Beaten and strangled
Suspect: None identified

Frances Earnest was born during World War I in 1916 on a horse ranch in Boulder.

She went to school until the eighth grade and never married.

Her family was her cats and she had 15 of them after her retirement. She got so many of them, city employees made get rid of some.

Earnest lived in a pea green-colored, two-story stucco house on the 900 block of Vrain Street.

She was a creature of habit, according to a Post news article in 1986.

Every day at 9:30 a.m. going back 20 years she would walk to the home of Jack and Grace Holly to get the previous day’s newspaper. She lived off of her social security check. She was 70.

The Hollys would then see the tiny woman who was only 4-feet-7 on the corner of West 10th Avenue and Vrain, where she would catch a bus to go downtown.

She was so reliable that on July 2, 1986 when she failed to pick up her neighbor’s newspaper and no one saw her walking to the bus stop, there was immediate concern.

Her next door neighbor who often worked in Earnest’s yard and looked out for her noticed that the front door was ajar.

Thinking that her neighbor might have had a heart attack or had fallen, she took her 7-year-old nephew into the house to check on Earnest.

She sent the boy upstairs, but he soon ran back down. His face was pale.

When the neighbor went upstairs to see what was wrong she found Earnest’s body lying on the bed. She was unclothed from the waist down.

Her beloved cat was missing.

Police later reported that she was beaten and strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.

The case was never solved.

Contact information: The Denver Police Department can be reached at 720-913-7867.
Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

College student fatally shot on home visit


Victim’s name: , 19
Where body found: 1800 block of E. 34th Ave.
Investigative agency: Police Department
Date killed: Feb. 8, 2007
Cause of Death: in head
Suspect: None identified

Gilbert Garcia had a different perspective than most kids.

Most teens play sports and work out with the dream of being a famous athlete or at least to be popular in school.

Gilbert Garcia, Mesa State College student Department

Gilbert Garcia, Mesa State College student

Gilbert was a largely because he needed to be strong enough to help his grandfather.

When he was 11 his grandfather, , had a and couldn’t walk.

Gilbert always helped his grandfather, but when he turned 15, he started bathing him and carrying him. He could do it because he lifted weights, his mother Melissa Rodarte said.

Juan Ortega called him “my big fella.”

He wanted to help people like his mother, a medical assistant, had always done. Also, a male nurse had for years cared for his grandfather and Gilbert admired him. He wanted to help people in the same way.

Though he was hampered by , he studied hard and went to Adams State College in Alamosa on scholarship. He enrolled in nursing. He was the first one to ever go to college from his family.

Gilbert’s views about life were different than many of the other kids. Though gangs were running throughout the Cole neighborhood, he stayed clear while attending in Denver.

“His favorite saying was, ‘We have two strikes against us. We’re Hispanic males and we have to go to college,’ ” his grandmother Yolanda Ortega said.

His freshman year of college, he continued to get excellent grades. In early February of 2007 Gilbert was planning on coming home for the weekend. He decided to take an anatomy test a day early and after he got an A he jumped in his 1984 Mazda pickup truck and headed home. His arrival was a happy surprise.

His mother was a single mom and he often saw himself as a surrogate father to his younger sister even though she was only three years younger.

Yolanda Garcia was only two weeks from turning 15 and he was heavily involved in helping to plan her Quinceañera.

As was his custom he went to his sister’s parent-teacher conference with his mother that evening. Yolanda got to chose what they had for dinner that night and so they had Chinese.

During the dinner, Gilbert made an off-handed remark.

“ ‘This will be the last time we eat dinner together,’ ” Rodarte said.

She told him no, that he would go back to school but Denver was always his home.

“‘I’m going home, home, mom,’” Rodarte said he told her. “I think he always knew what was going to happen.”

A few hours later, he asked his grandfather if he wanted him to move him into his bed and he said no, he could wait.

Gilbert had something he wanted to do that night. He and two friends climbed into his pickup and headed to a friend’s house. They were going to burn some CDs for Yolanda’s Quinceañera.

It was about 8:45 p.m. A car immediately followed him when he pulled away from his house. Shortly afterward that car pulled back and a dark-colored car pulled up along-side Gilbert’s pickup truck at East Bruce Randolph Avenue and Williams Street at a stop sign. One shot was fired. It pierced Gilbert’s head and he died instantly.

Instead of a Quinceañera there was a funeral to attend.

Ten weeks later, a heart-broken Juan Ortega, 63, told his daughter “‘my big fella is here. I have to go now.’” He died later that day, she said.

Gilbert’s death was devastating to many people but it also touched many of Gilbert’s friends as well.

A year later, four kids who were going to drop out of high school decided to stick it out and graduate in honor of Gilbert, his mother said.

Although Gilbert was the first of the family to go to college, Yolanda will be the first to graduate. She’ll be a junior at this year, majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice.

No one has ever been arrested in Gilbert’s shooting. Some people speculated that his was shot in retaliation for another recent gang shooting.

But Gilbert didn’t have anything to do with gangs, his mother said. It was just random senseless violence two blocks from home.

Contact information: The Denver police department can be reached at 720-913-7867. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Elderly woman and 48-year-old son fatally stabbed

Annabelle Leonard, 84 Police Department

Annabelle Leonard, 84

Names of victims: Annabelle and Thomas Leonard, ages 84 and 48
Where bodies found: Colorado Springs townhome
Investigative agency: Colorado Springs Police Department
Date killed: March 15th or 16th, 2003
Cause of Death: and slashed
Suspect: none identified

Annabelle Leonard had raised three boys and three girls on a cattle and horse ranch in Lincoln County.

Her world revolved around her children and their activities.

When her fifth child was born with cerebral palsy she offered him extra care. Living on a ranch, Thomas “Tommy” Leonard had chores and was surprisingly very strong even though his right fist was balled up.

“We grew up going to county fairs and rodeos,” said Annabelle’s youngest daughter, Roxi Graham, 55.

In high school, Tommy was often the equipment manager or team statistician. He traveled with the football and basketball teams to games. He was engrossed in sports, Graham said.

Tommy never married. When he was an adult he went from job to job. One time he got a plum job working for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs.

Annabelle and her husband divorced and she moved to Colorado Springs, where she lived in a townhome at 3834 Constitution Ave. She contributed $100 a year to a gardening fund at the townhomes where she lived.

Thomas "Tommy" Leonard, 48

Thomas "Tommy" Leonard, 48

“My mom was a home body,” Graham said. “She was all about her family. Her kids. She didn’t buy expensive clothes or jewelry.”

Though elderly, she was very active, still driving to the grocery store. She liked to play bridge with friends.

Tommy once had a fiancee and was getting back together with her in the last part of his life. There had been a conflict over a $3,000 engagement ring. A brother of Tommy’s had confronted the woman and gotten the ring back for him. The woman filed a restraining order against the brother.

Tommy was between jobs and so went to stay with his mother Annabelle weeks before their death.

At 1:22 a.m., on March, 16, 2003, a Sunday morning, firefighters rushed the Leonard home as heavy smoke was streaming out the windows. It took them only about 10 minutes to put the fire out. Fire damage was minimal. The flames had not even reached the upstairs where someone had poured gasoline.

When firefighters extinguished the blaze, they found Annabelle’s body lying in the basement where her son had been staying. Her throat was slit.

There was evidence that someone had been searching for something in the basement. It was ransacked. Drawers were pulled out and the contents dumped on the floor.

But oddly, it didn’t appear that the killers took anything from the home.

Tommy’s body was on the kitchen floor on an upper level. He had been stabbed many times in the torso. Police told the family that one possibility was that the killer was young because they didn’t seem to know where to stab him to kill him, Graham said.

He apparently fought desperately for his life.

It appeared the fire was started to cover up the homicides.

However, Annabelle had grown up during the depression and was very frugal. She bought only what was necessary and saved her money in a secret stash. One of her daughters discovered $10,000 in cash still in the home after the murders.

It’s possible that whoever killed the two knew about the money and entered the home. They likely did so in the evening. The supper’s dishes were already washed and Annabelle and her son likely sat down in the living room to watch TV that Saturday night.

Police didn’t find any evidence that the home had been broken into, leaving the family believing that either Annabelle or Tommy voluntarily let them into the house, Graham said.

“The family doesn’t think this was random,” she said.

There were two chairs out of place. Someone had placed them in the kitchen. Family members believe the killers wielding knives and possibly other weapons forced them to sit in the kitchen.

Graham said if they were looking for Annabelle’s stash of money she would have given it up rather than risk their lives.

“If they wanted money she would have given it to them,” she said.

Graham said she believes the intruders had something else in mind.

“You just shake your head,” she said. “How could someone kill two harmless people. They didn’t have enemies that we know of. They just came in there and did a horrific crime. It baffles police.”

When the police were done processing the crime scene it was turned over to the family.

“There was a lot of blood. There was obviously two areas of trauma. It was pretty devastating,” Graham said.

Family members are hoping that whatever forensic evidence police collected from the townhome will one day be linked to the killer or killers. The family believes multiple people were involved.

It’s also possible that someone will be haunted by what they know and go to police and name the killers.

Contact information: The Colorado Springs Police Department can be reached at 719-444-7613
or  CSPDColdCase@springsgov.com  Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Cousin of murder witness caught in crossfire


Victim’s name: , 21
Where killed: 5500 block of Yuba Way
Investigative agency: Police Department
Date killed: June 27, 1995
Cause of Death: seven times in back
Suspect: None identified

Susanne Price was a single parent raising a boy and a girl in and working so she was concerned about who her kids hung around with.

“I had my kids in everything I possibly could to keep them off the street,” Price said. “It could keep them out of trouble.”

Andre Price, 21.Families of Victims of Homicide and Missing Persons

Andre Price, 21.

Her son, Andre Price Jr., played several different sports including bowling, basketball and baseball.

“I’ve got trophies galore,” she said. “He was great.”

In particular, Andre had a passion for playing baseball and dreamed of playing professional.

He attended several baseball camps and lettered on Montbello High School’s baseball team. In high school he was the class clown.

After graduation in 1992 he tried out for several minor league baseball teams but was never signed.

He enrolled at , studying psychology and real estate.

He was very busy. He worked as an apprentice electrician installing and repairing light fixtures for Denver Public Schools. Andre’s girlfriend became pregnant. She moved in with the Prices. When his daughter Desirea was born, Andre helped baby-sit her.

Andre liked the style of cars built in the 1960s and 70s. He worked at his father Andre Price Sr’s car lot and enjoyed working on cars and fixing them up.

On June 27, 1995, Andre asked his mother if she could watch Desirea while he visited his cousin Jerry, who was 22, a year older than Andre. Susanne had asthma and had to work the next morning so she told Andre to be back home by 10 p.m.

Andre went to the Barker house on the 5500 block of Yuba Way in Montbello.

He was talking to at about 9:50 p.m. when between two and four men, depending on conflicting reports, walked up the street. There was a brief conversation before the men pulled guns out and started blasting away.

One bullet pierced Barker in the neck. He was rushed the hospital and survived.

Price was shot seven times in the back. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival. He was 21.

Susanne was asleep when her phone rang. Relatives told her that her son and cousin had been shot. She rushed to her car and over to the Barker home. There was crime tape crisscrossing the street. It was a frightening sign.

“They only put up tape when someone is killed,” Susanne Price said.

A woman across the street from where the shooting happened said one of the young men was dead. She was hoping her son had survived, but soon learned otherwise.

She soon learned that Jerry Barker’s brother had been the primary target. He had testified in a murder trial in which a young man was beaten to death. The suspect was convicted.

Several people know who killed Andre and injured Jerry, including Jerry, but no one has given police enough information to lead to charges.

“I can’t understand why this case has gone so long,” Susanne Price said. “They know who did it. They can’t do anything until someone comes forward.”

Susanne became a detective herself. She knocked on doors asking questions. She put up flyers. She held fund raisers and sought contributions for a $20,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

When she did so, someone smashed the windows of her car in front of her house.

“It has never scared me. It only made me stronger,” she said.

One man connected with ties to the case asked her daughter out on a date, apparently in an attempt to learn what the family knew about the killers. The man allegedly drove a getaway car.

In the 16 years that have passed since her son’s murder, no one has come forward.

On every birthday and holiday, Susanne visit’s her son’s grave at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver and leaves flowers.

“We go out there and visit him like he is still alive,” she said.

Last October, Susanne Price happened to meet Frontier Airlines CEO Bryan Bedford when he was disguised with a dark toupee and glass during the taping of an episode for CBS’ Undercover Boss.

Bedford was so impressed by the jovial airline employee and touched by her son’s story that he vowed to name a plane after Andre. Susanne got to help pick the animal on the plane, an antelope.

“It’s an animal with a little color,” she said. “And like Andre, an antelope is very fast.”

Susanne Price

Frontier Airlines plane named after Andre Price

On April 1, the plane with Andre Price written underneath the pilot’s window, was dedicated. On Mother’s Day, Susanne Price got to clean the plane.

“It’s the cleanest plane in the fleet,” she said.

Contact information: Denver crime stoppers can be reached at  303-913-7867. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com.

Murder victim mistaken for fallen drunk


Victim’s name: Michael Dobbins, 54
Where body found: alley on 1200 block of South Nevada Avenue
Investigative agency: Police Department
Date killed: Nov. 9, 1997
Cause of Death:
Suspect:  None identified

There’s a drunk lying in the alley. Could someone come and do something about it?

So came the report to the Colorado Springs Police Department dispatch on Nov. 9, 1997.

Michael Dobbins, 54Courtesy of the Colorado Springs Police Department

Michael Dobbins, 54

It wasn’t an unusual call for this part of town.

Michael Dobbins, 54, was lying in an alley between the Economy Inn and a tire company in the 1200 block of South Nevada Avenue.

It was across the street from Dorchester Park, a popular hangout for homeless people.

The call came in at about 3 a.m.

But when officers arrived, they discovered that Dobbins wasn’t drunk, he was dead.

Someone had stabbed Dobbins to death.

His body was lying beside a trash bin.

Not much is known about the struggle that led to Dobbins’ death. Police don’t have a suspect and did not find a knife.

Dobbins was a former chef and amateur artist, according to an article in the The Gazette of Colorado Springs, which said he moved to Colorado Springs from New York to live near his daughter about a year before he was murdered.

He had a drinking problem and may have been living in a camper near where his body was found, The Gazette reported in 1997.

His daughter had last seen him on his birthday, five days before he died, the newspaper had reported.

Police sought out friends and acquaintances and checked guest registries at nearby motels in an effort to reconstruct Dobbins’ last days, but no leads led to an arrest.

Contact information: The Colorado Springs Police Department can be reached at  719-444-7613 or CSPDColdCase@springsgov.com . Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Grizzly Rose guard gunned down in parking lot

Timothy Minnick, 48Courtesy Families of Victims of Homicide and Missing Persons

, 48

Victim’s name: Timothy Minnick, 48
Where killed: nightclub, 5450 Valley Highway
Investigative agency: ’s Office
Date killed: Dec. 12, 2008
Cause of Death:
Suspect: none identified

Timothy Minnick’s life had been spiralling downward for years when he confronted masked thieves at the popular country and western nightclub Grizzly Rose.

In the years before his shooting death in the parking lot of the nightclub that featured the likes of Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift he had suffered some difficult setbacks.

Minnick had gone through two divorces.

A bank foreclosed on the 48-year-old’s home.

He moved into a mobile home, which was destroyed by fire in February 2007. His dog was killed.

Minnick had an Internet business, Intertec Web Solutions, which tanked because much of his clients’ data burned in the fire.

He declared bankruptcy months before his death.

Then another brother died of a massive heart attack.

“He was struggling to put everything back together,” his brother Leland Minnick has said.

To add insult to injury, the former Brighton police officer was working a job he didn’t like and was looking for something else. It was tough, though. The economy was bad and good jobs were scarce. He did have a girlfriend, though.

On Friday night, Dec. 12, 2008, Minnick was working at the nightclub that hosts some of the biggest country and western entertainers in the business and is one of the places to be during the National Western Stock Show.

On a Friday night, the Grizzly Rose is typically packed for a live show. A lot of money went into the cash register.

The killers apparently went to the nightclub to rob the place.

But patrons saw the young men wearing bandanas and hooded sweatshirts out back and they immediately reported what they saw to Minnick.

Minnick and a partner confronted the three out back at 10:50 p.m.

The young killers didn’t hesitate to draw weapons.

One of the hooded men began firing several rounds at Minnick and the other man.

After he was shot, Minnick was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The other security officer was not struck.

Witnesses described three suspects as in their teens to early 20s with slender builds and between 5-feet-4 inches and 5-feet-7 inches. One wore a baseball cap.

The suspects were last seen running south from the scene, where they got into a mid-1990s white or silver sport utility vehicle, possibly a GMC Jimmy or Chevrolet Blazer.

The vehicle has a luggage rack and chrome or a light-blue kick-panel. It also has tinted back windows, but the driver’s window did not appear tinted.

A woman was seen in the suspects’ vehicle, and she is described as being heavyset with long hair past her shoulders.

No arrests have been made.

Contact information: The Adams County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at  303.654.1850. Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Young man gunned down while walking home


had dropped out of high school when he was 17.

But two years later he started studying so that he could take a , according to an article by Marilyn Robinson, a former Post reporter.

David , and dreamed of becoming a , his father Antonio had told Robinson.

He also liked boxing, body building and helped care for his severely disabled 1 1/2-year-old half brother.

He was the oldest boy in his family and his father often relied on him.

On July 14, 1986, at about 3:45 p.m. Fierro was taking a short-cut across a field on his way home and was just south of the Holy Trinity Church and just behind a strip mall, when he was was confronted by a .

The killer Fierro in the chest, according to a Westminster police report. The young man collapsed. Bystanders called 911.

The young man was rushed by helicopter to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses came forward and reported that shortly after the shooting they saw a brown 1970s car thought to have been a darting out of the area in an erratic manner.

The witness reported a partial car plate number of PAF.

The man driving the car was estimated to be between 25 and 35 years old with medium length brown, curly hair. He had a closely cropped beard with no mustache.

His hair and beard had a reddish tint with some gray. The driver was wearing a baseball cap.

According to Robinson’s story, police were investigating whether the shooting was random and possibly connected to another random shooting.

Just two hours later on the same day, someone shot Thomas Lane in the back while he was fishing in in Denver.

The 42-year-old developmentally disabled man had lived in foster homes and assisted living facilities and had been living in an apartment on . He had worked as a dish washer and janitor.

Contact information: Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

Anyone with information that could help solve the case is asked to contact Det. Joe Hastings at 303-658-4242.



Lowrider enthusiast bushwacked at Aurora apartment


could make pretty much any vehicle dance, even a Suburban.

The system he built made his midnight blue SUV go up and down and rock and roll in rhythm with a stereo system he attached behind the license plate.

David Ray Williams and daughter AshleyFamilies of Victims of and Missing Persons
David Ray Williams and daughter Ashley

He called his prized Suburban “Rump Shaker,” which was inscribed on the side.

Rump Shaker brought him fame at numerous low rider competitions. It was featured once on the front page of magazine.

The 35-year-old man checked product inventories at numerous stores in the metro area.

But he was also a father of a 15-year-old daughter. His mother Anna B. Davis, who lives in Atlanta, Ga., was proud of how he doted over his daughter.

“They were always together,” Davis said. “He took her to all the low rider competitions.”

Williams loved to play basketball and had a collection of shoes that stacked up to the ceiling in his apartment.

He tinkered with .

On May 4, 2005, Williams was talking to his girlfriend on his cellular phone when he drove up to the parking lot of his apartment on the 1900 block of Delmar Parkway. He had stopped at and was carrying his dinner into his house while continuing to talk to his girlfriend, Davis said.

The girlfriend later told he heard him get out of his car. As soon as he turned a corner to go to his apartment door someone jumped out of bushes.

His girlfriend heard two pops and then she could tell the phone dropped to the ground.

Williams was twice in the “upper torso,” Davis said.

“They just shot him and left him there,” she said. “They didn’t take his jewelry or money from his pocket. It was just a senseless death.”

Davis was hysterical when she heard the news. She said she couldn’t believe her son was dead.

Police found at the shooting scene they believe was tied to the killer. In the past six years the has not been linked to anyone arrested for other crimes.

Davis has called every year to check with the Aurora homicide detective in charge of her son’s case.

This year she flew to Colorado to attend the 10th Annual Conference of Families of Victims of Homicide and Missing Persons.

Howard Morton, president of the group, said the organization helped pay for Davis to fly to the event at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs on Oct. 8.

There she met with detectives investigating her son’s case and attended seminars on how criminal investigations work.

This year, the keynote speaker was Renny Cushing, executive director of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, an international organization based in Cambridge, Ma.

Cushing, a member of the New Hampshire Legislature, whose father was murdered in his home in 1988, wrote a bill that created a state-level cold case squad that investigates cold cases.

He also shepherded a bill through the legislature making families of homicide victims eligible for compensation as long as their family’s case was unsolved.

Morton said his group would like to duplicate Cushing’s initiatives in Colorado.

Davis said its still very painful.

“I’m still hoping and praying that something will come up on the DNA,” she said.

Contact information: The Aurora Police Department can be reached at 303-739-6151. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

CU engineering graduate killed in racial attack


Andrew “Stitches” Graham was preparing to attend graduate school after earning a degree at the and working briefly in Dubai for an oil exploration company.

Andrew Graham, 23Cyndi Gelston-Graham

Andrew Graham, 23

Though he was gifted and had a promising career to look forward to, he never saw himself as being better than anyone else.

He would often talk to homeless people while waiting to board a train. It wasn’t uncommon that he would buy them a sandwich or a cup of coffee.

On the night he was to death he was targeted by five young strangers.

“It was a ,” said his mother Cyndi Gelston-Graham. “They attacked him because he was white and it looked like he had money. If they would have given him half a chance he probably would have given them his money.”

Although no formal charges have been brought, five black youths have been under suspicion since shortly after the crime.

The shooting happened on Nov. 6, 2009, a day in which Graham had taken a bus to Boulder to find a house to rent with three friends while attending graduate school.

Upon his return, Graham was captured on a security camera at the light-rail station at County Line Road and Interstate 25. It was 11:40 p.m. He didn’t have a car and was going to walk less than a mile to his home.

At some point, Graham was surrounded.

“I can only imagine that his last moments were horrific,” Gelston-Graham said.

His body was found at about 5:30 a.m. the next morning lying in the front yard of a home on the 8700 block of East Phillips Place in Centennial by a homeowner awakened by his barking dogs.

When her son didn’t return home that night, Gelston-Graham was worried. Then she heard that a man who had been shot in the back nearby had left a green duffel bag behind. She knew it was her son. The next day, Nov. 7, was her birthday.

An autopsy by Dr. Mike Dobersen determined that a bullet penetrated his chest and abdomen, Denver Post reporter Howard Pankratz reported several days later.

It didn’t take long before the investigation pointed to five suspects including a 16-year-old sheriff’s investigators believe shot Graham.

The shooting involved suspects who were involved in a series of assaults in Denver in 2009 in which groups of young black people randomly attacked whites mostly in in Denver.

Investigators have a good idea who is responsible, but the case is complicated by the suspects’ blaming of each other, Gelston-Graham said.

“I don’t want them dead,” she said. “I just want them to admit what they did and pay their debt. I want them to learn from this.”

Her son wasn’t to blame for whatever misery the five who attacked him experienced, Gelston-Graham said.

He was a caring person who walked to the beat of his own drum, she said. He would meditate while running long distance. He loved animals and hiking in the mountains.

A friend of his told her he was a Renaissance man who people gravitated to. And the black belt in , who loved listening to Jazz and Blues, was a superb “mamabird,” or player on a team at CU.

Andrew earned his nickname “Stitches” when he collided head to head with a teammate nicknamed “Rabbit” at practice. Both ended up in the emergency room to get sewn up. Andrew received 32 stitches and Rabbit has a scar on his forehead. She says he thinks of Stitches every time he looks in the mirror, Gelston-Graham says.

The team wears Andrew’s number on the sleeves of their uniforms and retired the number 55. It wasn’t the only school remembrance. The Colorado Civil Engineering Graduate Scholarship Fund was named in his honor. He was a popular student with a calming and humorous influence on others.

“He was so wickedly funny,” Gelston-Graham said.

Andrew also had his life mapped out.

“He wanted to find a girlfriend, settle down and have a life,” his mother said.

He loved to explore. When he was on his way to Dubai he had stopped along the way in , where he spent the day walking from museums to historic spots.

“He was such a good kid. I was so proud to have him as a son,” Gelston-Graham said. “They just took so much from him.”

On Nov. 5, two years after the confrontation that led to Graham’s death began, a candle-light walk will be held at Willow Creek Clubhouse II, 8500 Mineral Dr., at 6 p.m.

Contact information: The Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 303-795-4711. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com or twitter.com/kmitchellDP

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