EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (The Gazette) - El Paso County prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against the alleged shooters in the gang-related killings of two Coronado High School students.
The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed the required notices Friday in the first-degree murder cases against Diego Carlos Chacon, 20, and Marco Garcia-Bravo, 21, The Gazette has confirmed. They are accused of taking turns pulling the trigger in the March 2017 execution-style shootings of Derek Greer, 15, and Natalie Cano-Partida, 16.
Prosecutors are expected to discuss their plans during hearings Monday before District Judge Larry E. Schwartz.
The filings comes days after a jury threw out the death penalty against double-murderer Glen Law Galloway in El Paso County’s first capital case in a decade.
In the case of Galloway, 46, lead prosecutor Reggy Short said the office chose to pursue death because of Galloway’s long history of flouting the law. That included going into hiding after a stalking conviction only to fatally shoot the victim, his ex-girlfriend Janice Nam, and a second person, Marcus Anderson, on consecutive days in May 2016.
The basis for pursuing the deaths of Chacon and Garcia-Bravo wasn’t immediately clear. The lead prosecutor, Jim Bentley, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Colorado law lays out 17 statutory aggravators that make murderers eligible for capital punishment, and requires that prosecutors prove at least one.
At least two could apply in the teens’ slayings. One is the intentional killing of a person who was abducted by the defendants. The other is the allegation that the defendants were “party to an agreement to kill another person” that resulted in deaths.
Authorities say Greer and Cano-Partida were abducted at gunpoint in Colorado Springs and later killed over suspicions that Cano-Partida had provided information to gang rivals.
Ten people were arrested in the shocking crime, five of them charged with murder. Three of the murder suspects have since pleaded guilty to lesser charges under agreements that secure their testimony in court.
After a harrowing drive with their captors, Greer and Cano-Partida were forced at gunpoint into “execution position” and shot at close range on Old Pueblo Road near Fountain.
Chacon is alleged to have shot Cano-Partida first, before handing his pistol to Garcia-Bravo, who is accused of shooting Greer.