Arapahoe County District Court Judge Andrew Baum has sentenced a man to life plus 166 years in prison for killing an Aurora woman and shooting her boyfriend so he could rob them.
Shaun R. Davis, 33, had been out of prison six months after serving time for aggravated robbery when he shot Aliyah Bonicelli in the back of the head on April 8, 2018. She was 23 years old and had a young daughter. Davis shot Bonicelli’s boyfriend in the face, but the boyfriend survived.
“A multiple convicted felon with a gun who has twice before been paroled early from his well-deserved sentence once again proves that the grave risks to the community of paroling repeat, violent offenders are unjustifiable. Without question, had this monster served his full sentence for his past felonies, this innocent mother would still be alive,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “The public should ask why this happened and how will we prevent it from happening again. Over a mere $3,000, this career criminal was willing to murder two people. He listened cold-heartedly to a mother plead for her life, then he assaulted her before putting a bullet in her head. No amount of time in prison is enough for such a monster.”
On May 24, 2019, an Arapahoe County jury found Davis guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation, attempted first-degree murder after deliberation, aggravated robbery, first-degree assault and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
Judge Baum found Davis to be a habitual offender. The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder is life in prison without possibility of parole. On Aug. 2, Baum sentenced Davis to life plus an additional 166 years for the other counts.
“This is one of the most brutal homicides I have seen,” Judge Baum said from the bench during sentencing. “This is by far the most unnecessary homicide I have seen. There was no need for Ms. Bonicelli to lose her life.”
Aurora Police got the call April 8, 2018, to respond to University of Colorado Hospital, where personnel were treating two people with gunshot wounds.
Officers spoke with the boyfriend. He told police he and Bonicelli were giving “Shaun” a ride in her car when Shaun pulled out a gun and shot the boyfriend in the face. The boyfriend, who was in the front passenger seat, played dead. When Davis asked Bonicelli to check her boyfriend for a pulse, she told Davis he was already dead.
The boyfriend told police he heard Bonicelli tell Davis she was a mother. She pleaded for her life.
Davis pistol-whipped Bonicelli, then he shot her in the back of the head.
When Davis fled, the boyfriend drove himself and Bonicelli to the hospital, where she died.
The boyfriend told officers he was carrying more than $3,000 in cash, which was missing.
Detectives were able to piece together “Shaun’s” identity. He was arrested April 11, 2018.
Family and friends of Bonicelli were in the courtroom for sentencing, as they were during earlier proceedings and the trial. Several spoke to the judge.
Aliyah was “ripped from us – from her mother and her daughter,” a friend said through tears. “Her family will never see any of her dreams come to fruition because of the devilish act of this man who executed her.
“How can you forgive the devil? Please give him the max that you can.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson also asked the judge for the maximum sentence.
“Crime is the defendant’s way of life. His actions show prison is the only place to put him forever,” said Wilson, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Kyontha Nelson. “He is a cold-blooded killer. He stripped a mother’s life while she begged to keep it. He tried to execute two people over $3,000.”
Judge Baum agreed. Davis got the maximum sentence under the law.