A man who shot and killed his Aurora host was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Andrew Baum sentenced Marquez Woodruff, 18, for the death of Terry Capler. Woodruff was just shy of his 17th birthday when he killed Capler, making him eligible for parole after 40 years. Capler was 36 years old when he was killed in his Aurora home.
“You made horrific choices with devastating consequences,” Baum told Woodruff.
A jury convicted Woodruff on Sept. 25 of first-degree murder in Capler’s death.
“Our legislature now has made it possible for a remorseless, cold-blooded, near-17 year-old to murder another person by shooting him four times and still be eligible to be on our streets again before the killer is 42 years old. Here, the innocent Mr. Capler will be dead forever,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “Make no mistake, this killer is not required to serve anywhere near 40 years. And he likely will not. He will be allowed to apply for a special program for those juveniles who have earned long sentences through murder, and — if successfully completed — he will be presumed safe to return to our communities. This is no joke. This is our law. The Capler family deserved better. Future victims deserve better. Colorado deserves better.”
On Dec. 16, 2017, Capler’s roommate called Aurora police to report Capler had been shot. Police came to the home in the 1400 block of North Clinton Street and found Capler dead in the living room. The coroner determined Capler had been shot in the head and torso.
The roommate told police he had used Capler’s car to pick up a couple with whom Capler was friends and bring them to Capler’s house. He picked up Woodruff and Woodruff’s girlfriend.
The four spent time in the home together that evening, drinking alcohol and consuming drugs. For no apparent reason, Woodruff pulled out his gun and repeatedly fired at Capler at very close range. Woodruff and his girlfriend fled the home. The roommate hid in a bedroom and eventually called the police.
Aurora Police found Woodruff and his girlfriend by tracking the phone they used to text with Capler that night.
“Woodruff took no accountability for his decisions then and takes no accountability for Capler’s death now. In 2017, he carried a loaded gun, got high on cocaine and other drugs, and ran after shooting Terry Capler four times at very close range. He never reported the shooting – police had to find him using cell phone records,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Amy Ferrin, who tried the case with Deputy District Attorney Zoe Laird. “After testifying at trial and claiming self-defense, the defendant how claims he can’t remember anything, including the trial. His lack of remorse and unwillingness to take accountability shock the conscience.”
Capler had four children. They had messages for the judge during sentencing, along with Capler’s parents, his sister, his twin brother and others who were close to him.
“Terry was taken away from so many who loved him by a callous young man with no empathy or remorse,” one member of the extended family said.
Capler’s sister told the judge, “Terry was the glue that helped keep my family together.”
Capler’s only daughter was in the courtroom. “I lost my dad, my best friend, my rock, and my greatest supporter,” she told the judge through her tears. The defendant “took the heart from my chest.”