While a grand jury receives evidence in a racially motivated murder in 2009 that was connected to attacks in LoDo, friends and family plan to hold a candle-light vigil.The grand jury is determining whether sufficient evidence exists to file charges against several persons of interest in the murder of 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate student Andrew Graham, said Bruce Isaacson, investigator for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office.
On Saturday, the second anniversary of Graham’s murder, a candlelight walk will commence at 6 p.m. at Willow Creek Clubhouse II, 8500 Mineral Dr., in Centennial.
Isaacson said on the night he was killed, Graham had travelled by bus and light rail from Boulder where he was making housing arrangements for attending CU to the Park Meadows Mall, where he arrived about 11:40 p.m. on Nov. 5.
He was walking to his home, which was less than a mile away, when he crossed paths with several teens and young adults, Isaacson said. The same suspects had been involved in a series of racially motivated robberies and assaults in LoDo that year.
“We know who was there,” Isaacson said, referring to various suspects.
When asked whether the suspects had spoken to authorities, Isaacson answered indirectly, saying that often when multiple people are involved in a crime at least one of them speaks out.
He declined to say what evidence led authorities to identify the suspects.
“It was a hate crime,” 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.”
She said although no formal charges have been brought, five black youths have been under suspicion since shortly after the crime.
“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 on Nov. 6 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.
“He was shot in the back,” Isaacson said. “It was pretty cowardly.”
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/kmitchellDP