Father Reacts To Police Re-opening 7-Year Cold Case Murder

By: Jason Aubry Email
By: Jason Aubry Email
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Seven years ago, Larry Wagner's son was shot and killed during a home invasion at his apartment on the north side of Pueblo.

The thieves were after cash and some marijuana plants. At first, the investigation into the murder suffered a lack of tips from the public. Pueblo Police Sergeant Eric Bravo says, it's common for people to be afraid to come forward when a murder is committed because of fears of retaliation.

It took two years to get enough evidence to arrest four men in connection to the murder. By the Spring of 2006, the first suspect went before a jury and was found innocent. The jury says, it was because the District Attorney's case was weak.

Larry attended every heart-wrenching day of that trial and remembers it left him feeling worse than before. Because the evidence was not compelling enough to secure a conviction on the first suspect, charges were dropped against the three remaining.

Since then, police have been searching for more evidence, trying to put those responsible behind bars. Every year that passes brings new techniques and technologies to the table that offer a chance new evidence can be found.

Currently, detectives with the Pueblo Police Department are between major cases and have found extra time on their hands. These slow periods give them a chance to re-open cold cases like Wagner's.

While they conduct new interviews here in Pueblo, some evidence has been shipped overseas to England. There, new technology unavailable in the U.S. is being used by investigators to find and gather fingerprints on items that otherwise would remain hidden or unusable.

Also, as DNA analysis continues to advance, partial DNA profiles from the smallest amounts of material are becoming more and more likely.

This all has Wagner's family hopeful that the evidence their son's killers left behind could be available some day soon. Until then they will wait patiently, even if the pain is sometimes too much to bear. "We suffered for seven years, I don't know how much we're supposed to suffer, but it would really provide some closure on our part," says Wagner.

Meanwhile, Bravo says even if these new technologies do provide evidence, any case they present to the District Attorney's office will have to pass the scrutiny of the department.

Since Bravo joined the unit nearly three years ago, they have not to his recollection lost a murder case, and have not had an innocent verdict because of a weak case. Bravo says, his investigators take these sorts of things very seriously, and nothing motivates them like knowing a killer is walking free.

Investigators and the victim’s family are asking for anyone who has information about this crime to contact Crime Stoppers at 542-STOP. Bravo says, he has a feeling all it could take to have justice served, is a phone call. "There is somebody out there," says Bravo, "possibly an old girlfriend or people involved, or somebody that maybe the relationship was good at the time and the relationship has soured."

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