Convicted Killer Up For Parole

By: McKenzie Martin Email
By: McKenzie Martin Email

It's been more than 20 years since his son was brutally murdered. Now a Colorado Springs father is speaking out afraid the man responsible, Dominick Cardoza, may be released.

The murder happened in Monument Valley Park near the Bijou bridge on a cold Saturday in January of 1988.

The body of 25-year-old Carlos Espinoza Jr. was found by some joggers. He was thrown off the bridge and then beaten to death with a rock.

Cardoza was arrested immediately following the murder, he has been prison since the early 90's.

"I hope he stays there for the rest of his life," said Carlos Espinoza’s father, Carlos Espinoza Senior. He received papers last week informing him that Cardoza is up for parole.

"I don't think he should be coming out," Espinoza Senior said. "He took my son's life away and took our holidays away."

And he's served less than 20 years of his 48 year sentence.

"To me it seems like it was yesterday," Espinoza said. He remembers it all so vividly. Especially the moment he found out that his son had been killed. "It was a Sunday afternoon around 7:30 when they came and told us about it," Espinoza said.

Cardoza was eventually found sane to stand trial, but he ended up pleading guilty to second degree murder. Three years after the murder he was finally sentenced. Carlos Senior never missed a court hearing.

"It took about 139 hearings," he said.

And even though 22 years have now passed the pain of losing his son is still very real. "It breaks my heart to see him," Espinoza said.

And he can't imagine his son's killer going free. He says not a day goes by that he doesn't think about what life would be like today, Carlos Espinoza Junior would be 47-years-old.

Dominick Cardoza's parole hearing is scheduled for August 31st. The family says they will be going to Canon City to hopefully convince the judge to keep him behind bars.

Espinoza and Cardoza were neighbors. No one knows exactly why the killing happened. It was rumored to be because of a fight over a girl and money.


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