Former Rocky Ford Police Officer not awarded relief, 16-year sentence remains the same for deadly shooting

 From left: James Ashby, Jack Jacquez
From left: James Ashby, Jack Jacquez (KKTV)
Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 3:55 PM MST
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ROCKY FORD, Colo. (KKTV) - Former Rocky Ford Police Officer James Ashby was sentenced to 16 years in prison for shooting and killing 27-year -old Jack Jacquez in his own home in front of his mother in 2014.

Ashby was convicted in 2016, but Ashby’s defense recently filed a 35C to argue the sentence or verdict was invalid. On Monday, 11 News confirmed Ashby was not awarded relief and his 16-year sentence would remain the same.

Ashby has unsuccessfully appealed the verdict in the past. Ashby’s defense made the most recent motion on three grounds; they claim Ashby had ineffective assistance from council in the first trial, was a victim of prosecutorial misconduct, and that his defense did not have access to all of the relevant police reports during the first trial.

The judge of Ashby’s first trial said it was, “the most difficult case he’s had and probably will ever have.”

Family members who witnessed the shooting said Ashby shot Jacquez in the back, which was confirmed by an autopsy. Throughout the trial Ashby maintained that he shot Jacquez in self defense and followed him home because he believed Jacquez was a burglar. However, investigators said the former officer had no reason to suspect this.

Jacquez’s family won a $1.3 million lawsuit against the City of Rocky Ford in the wake of his death. They alleged in their lawsuit that the City and its former police chief, Frank Gallegos, acted irresponsibly in hiring Ashby, who had left the Walsenburg Police Department while being investigated for excessive use of force.

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