Jury Finds Rocky Ford Cop Guilty


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LA JUNTA, Colorado-The jury deliberated for a day and a half in the murder trial of former Rocky Ford police officer James Ashby ending in a guilty verdict.  Ashby is the first police officer to face murder charges for an on-duty killing in Colorado in over 20 years and may be Colorado’s only conviction.

Jack Jacquez, 27 was killed on October 12, 2014 by two bullets to his back with his mother Viola witnessing and his pregnant fiancee Mariah asleep in a back bedroom.

A month following the shooting, Ashby was fired and arrested.

In closing arguments on Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Lowe attempted to discredit the testimony of Jacquez’ mother.  She testified Ashby pepper-sprayed her after the shots had been fired.  Pepper-spray was also found on the back of Jacquez’ head according to Otero County Coroner Bob Fowler’s earlier testimony.

District Attorney James R. Bullock told jurors that Ashby’s claim of self-defense was destroyed due to the evidence that showed the shots entered Jacquez’ back.  The coroner earlier testified that the first shot rendered Jacquez paralyzed before he died.

Appearing  alongside the Jacquez family during closing arguments Denver attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai suggested a possible civil suit following the verdict,  “The jury’s verdict is a stain on the entire Rocky Ford Police Department. We will continue to seek justice and demand answers from the city of Rocky Ford as to why Officer Ashby was ever in a position to commit this heinous crime.”  Mohamedbhai’s law firm represented  Denver resident Jamal Hunter in 2014 in his successful suit against the Denver Sheriff’s Department and is current representation for the family of Jessica Hernandez, the Denver teen who was fatally shot by Denver police last year.

Defense attorney Michael Lowe, despite a history of successful vindications of police officers in the past, wasn’t successful this time.  He said he will file an appeal.

Before deliberation Bullock left the jurors with the message, “This was unlawful, unjustified, and an intentional killing.  This was a murder.”

Ashby was taken into custody and will face sentencing on September 23, 2016.


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