Homicide cases fulfill the role of the court; two murder suspects found not guilty – Canon City Daily Record

Editor’s note: The number of homicide cases that have been processed by the district court this year is story # 5 of 2021.

Although there was only one homicide in Fremont County in 2021, the court system was still heavily loaded with cases from 2018, 2019 and 2020 – while trying to make adjustments to make things right. operate safely and efficiently during a global pandemic.

Most notably, two separate juries have declared two murder suspects not guilty this year.

After the verdicts, Luciano Pogorzelski and Jeffery Brian Smith were ordered to be released immediately.

In May, a jury found Pogorzelski not guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of Richard Fay, 39, on September 28, 2019. The jury also found him not guilty of manslaughter, homicide through criminal negligence and physical tampering. proof.

Lawyers for Pogorzelski, 24, say he shot Fay in self-defense. His lawyers refused to call witnesses during his trial.

In October, a jury found Jeffery Brian Smith not guilty of second degree murder in the 2007 death of Remzi Nesfield.

Smith, 39, told authorities he helped Nesfield with his drug operation and traveled to Denver to return a bag to Nesfield and tell him he no longer wanted to be involved. He said Nesfield started to “panic” at him.

Smith told investigators he shot Nesfield “once in the neck” inside the Denver garage of Jasmine Ashcraft, who was Nesfield’s girlfriend, in early 2007 after Nesfield allegedly threatened to kill the mother and Smith’s father.

Nesfield’s skeletal remains were found by a hiker in an isolated wooded area of ​​Cotopaxi in September 2016. His identity was later confirmed by a DNA match with the Arizona Offender Database.

The identification of Nesfield’s remains and Smith’s arrest meant the closure of a cold Fremont County case, but Nesfield’s family said they would never have a closure.

“I would be terrified if anything happened to my family if I lived in this county,” said Crystal Nesfield, sister of Remzi Nesfield, who works in Arizona as a trauma therapist. “Because, clearly, you can get away with shooting someone in the back of the head, dumping their body in the middle of the mountains, and then going home. “

Kenneth Sweet, the man accused of shooting Ashton Ladd, 27, on January 7, 2020, has also been released this year. His case was dismissed without prejudice in July and he was released from prison after police reportedly lost custody of vital evidence.

Sweet, 55, has been charged with second degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He allegedly shot Ladd in his home at 211 N. Third St. after Ladd slapped him in the face. If convicted, Sweet would have incurred 16 to 48 years in the Department of Corrections.

The Cañon City Police Department had been told that lawyers were trying to locate the cardigan worn by Ladd at the time of the shooting, but after an exhaustive search for the evidence, it was evident that it was not in the possession of the CCPD.

People who have been convicted of homicide this year include:

  • Donald Laub, 47 years old. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the June 2017 death of 47-year-old Scott Nash. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison at the Corrections Department in August.
  • Earl Scott Watkins, 66. He was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the September 2018 shooting death of 27-year-old Jonathon Kern. He was sentenced to a total of 14 years at DOC in May.
  • Shera Carter, 34. She was convicted of second degree murder in the 2020 shooting death of Coty Bass, 33. She was sentenced to 30 years at DOC in July.
  • Isaac Bullard, 39 years old. He pleaded guilty to driving homicide after crushing his 23-month-old son, Jesse James Bullard, on January 22, 2020. He was sentenced to six years in prison at DOC in February.

Five more homicide cases are still pending in the justice system today.

  • Mark Nielsen, 56, is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of John Achterkirck, 64, on July 28, 2020. A nine-day trial is scheduled for March 1-11.
  • Matthew Allan Rodgers, 47, is charged with the death of Kenneth Orchard, 76, and with setting his house on fire in May 2018. The trial is set for January 25 to February 4.
  • Robert Douglas Broman, 34, was charged with the shooting death of Christopher Erinn Robb, 41, on November 14. A preliminary hearing for this case is set for February 2.
  • John Paul Williams, 69, is charged with the murder of Rebecca Magallanes, 44, around November 2009. The court is waiting for it to regain its jurisdiction. His public defender asked the court to end the criminal proceedings. He is due for an exam on January 5.
  • Justin David Conner, 42, who was convicted of the death of Glen Tate in a burglary at Royal Gorge Bridge & Park on October 6, 1997, is seeking redress after his conviction. Its proceedings will continue on January 10.

About Jessica J. Bass

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