Suspected DUI Driver to Face First Degree Murder Charge

As reported by the Denver Post, Ever Olivas-Gutierrez, allegedly an illegal resident of the United States since at least 2004, faces trial on one count of first degree murder with extreme indifference, C.R.S. section 18-3-102(1)(d), a class one felony that carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment, for his purported involvement in the March, 2014 death of 17-year old Carlos Dominguez-Palomino in Aurora. The first degree murder charge, together with seven additional counts, including vehicular homicide, was bound over for trial this week after a preliminary hearing before Arapahoe County District Court Judge Marilyn Antrim.

Mr. Olivas-Gutierrez allegedly had three prior DUI stops and a blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit and was reported running through red lights on Colfax Avenue at a speed of over 70 miles an hour at the time of the collision that killed the young driver of another vehicle.

The crime of Extreme Indifference Murder, in Colorado, does not require proof that the defendant intentionally killed anyone. Rather, it requires that the prosecution prove, among other things, that the defendant, under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, knowingly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to a person or persons other than himself, and thereby caused the death of another person.

The purpose of a preliminary hearing is not to determine whether charges are true or not, but whether there is enough evidence which, if proved to be true to a jury, would support the charge. According to the article, Judge Marilyn Antrim concluded from the evidence presented that the element of “knowingly” could be established from evidence that the defendant had previously stated that he was aware that someone could die as the result of an intoxicated driver.

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