An Elbert County jury has found an Agate man guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a former partner in a marijuana growhouse.
Shawn Geerdes, 48, was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder, a Class 2 felony; setting a wildfire, a Class 3 felony; and second-degree arson, a Class 4 felony.
He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 96 years in prison if he is found to be a habitual offender during his Sept. 5 sentencing hearing.
The case began Sept. 20, 2015, when Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies were notified of a fire. They found a car on fire that had started a wildfire.
Ultimately, investigating officers found a body in the trunk, later identified as Jason Dosa, 44, of Parker. He had been shot five times.
Investigators traced Dosa’s movements and found his last location at a marijuana greenhouse in Agate on land owned by Geerdes. Dosa and Geerdes were former partners in the grow operation.
Investigators found evidence at the growhouse including bloodstains and spent shell casings that indicated Dosa had been killed there and his body later transported to Jefferson County. The case was tried in Elbert County and prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Douglas Bechtel and Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Gallo.
“When reviewing a case, our office always evaluates the applicability of affirmative defenses, such as self-defense or defense of premises — commonly known as Make My Day,” Bechtel said. “However, the defendant’s actions in this case of shooting the victim, putting the victim in the trunk of his own car, driving the car 80 miles, dousing the car in gasoline and staring a car fire and wildfire shows that the defendant knew this was not a justified shooting. Simply put: ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ ”
District Attorney George Brauchler praised the outcome.
“Here is yet another violent crime related to marijuana. Whatever benefits there may be from the legalization of marijuana, eradicating violent crime associated with it is not one of them,” Brauchler said. “I’m pleased my team and our law enforcement partners were able to bring this murderer to justice.