The official findings of an officer-involved shooting that occurred on June 1, 2023 in Aurora can be found here. If you have questions or need further assistance accessing this report, please call 720-874-8500 during normal business hours.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is hosting a free, seven-week Citizen’s Academy for community members in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties.
WHO: Office of the 18th Judicial District Attorney
WHEN: Every Thursday from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. from September 14 – October 26, 2023
WHERE: 6450 S. Revere Parkway
Centennial, CO 80111
DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, August 25, 2023
This in-person course offers residents a detailed overview of our criminal justice system. Our prosecutors will provide an in-depth look at what happens with a criminal case between the time of arrest and post-conviction. Attendees will also have the option to participate in a mock trial following the classroom portion of the course.
The following specialized units will be featured in our upcoming academy class:
– Domestic Violence Unit -Economic Crime Unit (ECU)
-Cold Case Unit -Investigations Team
-Special Victim’s Unit (SVU) -Juvenile Prosecution
-Organized Crime Unit (OCU) -Victim’s Compensation
“I’m proud to deliver a Citizen’s Academy that gives participants the opportunity to witness how our justice system works,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “Instead of watching a verdict on television, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look into how we investigate and prosecute cases.”
Our Fall 2023 Citizen’s Academy application can be found here.
Light snacks and refreshments will be served during each session.
If you have questions about enrollment or course schedule, please contact James Sorrells, Director of Consumer Fraud Protection at 720-874-8547.
Following a four-week long trial, Mauricio Alvarado-Vasquez, 31, was convicted and sentenced in July to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in multiple murders and attempted murders that occurred in 2019.
Murder of Vicky DeDios:
On September 8, 2019, the Dispatch Center in Aurora received a 9-1-1 call regarding a car fire on I-225. After firefighters extinguished the flames, a body, later identified as Vicky DeDios was found in the backseat floorboard. Detectives uncovered the victim was stabbed more than 20 times.
The investigation revealed DeDios was targeted because the MS-13 gang perceived her as a rival gang member. DeDios was out at a bar when she was lured outside, rendered unconscious and driven to a house where she was stabbed in her vehicle. Through interviews with other known MS-13 gang members, detectives learned that after the victim was stabbed, Alvarado-Vasquez and another co-defendant, David Tobias-Carbajal, drove the victim’s car with the body in the back and parked it on the shoulder of I-225. The two then went to purchase gasoline and a lighter and set fire to the car.
“This defendant bragged about stabbing the victim first and then asked her how it feels to die,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Laura Wilson said. “He is an ongoing threat to the entire community and deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Murder of Carlos Ramirez-Rivera:
On November 2, 2019 at approximately 3:00 a.m., officers in Glendale were dispatched to a traffic crash at the intersection of E. Kentucky Avenue and S. Birch Street. As an officer approached the car, they noticed a male, later identified as Ramirez-Rivera, slumped over in the driver seat. The victim was pronounced dead on-scene. Surveillance camera footage revealed Ramirez-Rivera was stopped at a stop sign when another car pulled up and fired multiple shots, striking him in his arms and chest. The investigation revealed Ramirez-Rivera was targeted for his alleged involvement in a rival gang and was followed after leaving a local bar.
Attempted Murder of Alexander Portillo:
Between September and October 2019, detectives learned Alvarado-Vasquez conspired with two other co-defendants on Facebook and another messaging app to kill Alexander Portillo over a perceived threat that he was also in a rival gang. The investigation found the MS-13 gang had been trying to figure out Portillo’s work schedule, employer, and type of car he drove so they could ambush and kill him.
Apartment complex shooting:
Just before 2:30 a.m. on November 11, 2019, officers in Aurora responded to a shooting at an apartment complex on S. Ironton Street. Six people suffered gunshot wounds and survived. The victims had previously been at a local bar and were labeled as rival gang members by MS-13. However, there was no evidence to suggest the victims had a gang affiliation.
“Our law enforcement partners were instrumental in helping us bring justice to victims and shut down an organized criminal enterprise that had been terrorizing the community for several months,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jason Siers said. “Hundreds of hours were spent reviewing surveillance video and speaking with witnesses to put all of the pieces to the puzzle together.”
More than a dozen defendants were charged with MS-13 gang-related crimes between 2019 and 2020. Two defendants have pending trials as of August 2023. Defendants pending trial or whose cases have not concluded must be presumed innocent.
“This is one of the most violent and brutal gangs I have come across in my career as a prosecutor,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to the state and federal law enforcement team that dedicated years to bringing these defendants to justice. Their efforts prevented this transnational criminal gang from gaining a foothold in our community.”
2020 CR 1296 – Mauricio Lopez-Rodriguez
Sentence: 10 years DOC
2020 CR 1287 – David Tobias-Carbajal
Sentence: Life without Parole – Convicted at trial
2020 CR 1298 – Miriam Tobias-Carbajal
Sentence: 5 years Probation
2020 CR 1293 – Manuel Rivera-Rivas
The defendant in this case pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder after Deliberation, a Class 3 felony, along with being an Accessory to a Crime, a Class 4 felony.
2020 CR 1291 – Josue Tobias-Carbajal
Sentence: Life without Parole
2020 CR 3058 – Edwin Mendoza
Sentence: 8 years in DOC
2020 CR 1288 – Enrique Zamorano-Cuevas
Sentence: 4 years in DOC
2020 CR 1321 – Elias Tobias
Status: Sentence Pending
The defendant in this case pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit First-Degree Murder after Deliberation, a Class 3 felony, and Violent Crime Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury, a sentence enhancer.
2020 CR 1290 – Gerson Huezo-Cerritos
Sentence: 10 years in DOC
2020 CR 1289 – Enrique Juarez-Gonzalez
Sentence: 24 years in DOC
2020 CR 1286 – Cristian Vasquez-Ortega
Sentence: 48 years in DOC
2020 CR 1323 – Rafael Lopez-Rodriguez
Sentence: 10 years in DOC
2020 CR 1294 – Marvin Ramos-Hernandez
Sentence: 16 years in DOC
2020 CR 1299 – Natalie Bolivar
Sentence: 4 years Probation
2020 CR 2176 – Hector Rodriguez-Barrientos
Sentence: 30 years in DOC
2020 CR 1320 – David Medina-Hernandez
Sentence: 10 years in DOC
Additional mugshots for defendants incarcerated in the Department of Corrections can be obtained through the DOC Inmate Locator webpage.
On Thursday, April 13, 2023, bond was increased to $750,000 cash or surety for William “Lilly” Whitworth, the defendant facing multiple charges following an investigation into threats involving schools in Colorado Springs Academy District 20.
On Monday, April 10, 2023, a staff member in the Elbert County Jail notified the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office that the defendant indicated if able to bond out, the defendant would still try to carry out the original plans of a mass shooting.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office was notified of this information on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, and filed a motion that day to increase bond and asked for additional protections in the mandatory protection order.
A hearing was held Thursday where a judge modified the cash or surety bond amount to $750,000 from $75,000. The mandatory protection order conditions were also modified to include GPS monitoring and no contact with any public or private school property/institution in the State of Colorado.
The defendant remains in-custody in the Elbert County Jail on the following charges:
CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE (2 COUNTS)
INTERFERENCE WITH STAFF, FACULTY, OR STUDENTS OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on May 3, 2023. As a reminder, criminal charges are merely accusations against a defendant. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecutors who brought justice for the family of Sylvia Quayle four decades following her murder in Cherry Hills Village were selected by the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council (CDAC) as the 2022 Outstanding Trial Team of the Year.
This prestigious award recognizes one team of prosecutors each year for exceptional work in solving challenging cases from the thousands of cases brought to trial over the course of the year. This year, the award honors a dedicated team from our Office who aggressively worked to solve this case and bring Quayle’s killer to justice.
The trial team members include Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Gallo and Deputy District Attorney Grant Grosgebauer, Matt Hanagan, Investigator, Cathy Nevill, Paralegal and Colleen Vogel, Victim Advocate.
“I’m proud that Colorado’s prosecution community recognized the incredible work of this team,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “This case is a shining example of the fact that, no matter how many years have passed, we will never stop pursuing justice for victims and bringing closure to families.”
Prosecutors Christopher Gallo and Grant Grosgebauer noted the tremendous importance of a strong team.
“We get to stand up in court and make the closing argument, but a case like this is built from the ground up, with great investigative work from our partners at the Cherry Hills Village Police Department, along with DA Investigator Matthew Hanagan, who was critical in gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses,” they said. “This isn’t an award that belongs to one or two people. Without the countless hours of dedication from our spectacular victim advocate, Colleen Vogel, and our amazing Cold Case Paralegal, Cathy Nevill, this case would not have made it into a courtroom. We’re so glad that they are receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.”
Background on this Case:
On August 4, 1981, Sylvia Quayle’s body was found by her father, William, in the early morning hours. Sylvia lived alone at her home in Cherry Hills Village and became the victim of a brutal attack the night before. The attacker had cut the phone line outside her house so she couldn’t call for help. The investigation revealed Sylvia had been sexually assaulted, strangled, stabbed three times and was shot in the head and left to bleed to death on the floor of her living room.
Sylvia’s murder went unsolved for nearly four decades. In 2000, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted a DNA sample to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS. The DNA sample remained unidentified for two decades until advances in DNA linked Anderson to the crime.
In 2020, the Cherry Hills Village Police Department began working with a genetic genealogy company named United Data Connect. The company provided the police department with a possible lead after samples from the decades-old cold case were entered into two public DNA databases.
In 2021, an investigator with United Data Connect went to Anderson’s residence to discretely obtain a new DNA sample. That investigator collected trash bags from an apartment complex dumpster where Anderson resided. Lab results found DNA on a soda can from Anderson’s trash bag matched DNA collected from the crime scene.
Anderson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder (After Deliberation and Felony Murder) and initially went to trial in March 2022. After five days, jurors were unable to reach a verdict and a judge declared a mistrial.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office took the case to trial again and on June 30, 2022, a jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts of murder. However, legal precedent only allows a defendant convicted of a single homicide to be sentenced on one homicide charge.
Based on the sentencing laws in effect at the time of the crime, Anderson received the maximum sentence—life behind bars with the possibility of parole after 20 calendar years.
Front Row (L to R): Cathy Nevill and Colleen Vogel
Back Row (L to R): Grant Grosgebauer, Matt Hanagan and Christopher Gallo