In April, the district attorneys for Arapahoe County filed first-degree murder charges against Ever Olivos-Gutierrez. The charges stemmed from a March 24th car accident that resulted in the death of 17-year-old Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino. The case caught media attention across Colorado due to the fact that Olivos-Gutierrez never had a Colorado driver’s license, is allegedly in the country illegally, and had been convicted of three prior DUI offenses. In addition to murder charges, Olivos-Gutierrez faces two charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. Prosecutors are alleging that Olivos-Gutierrez’s BAC was over .32, well above the legal limit of .08 and the persistent alcohol offender limit of .20.
Traditionally, first-degree murder is a “specific intent” crime, meaning that a prosecutor would have to prove that the defendant had the specific intent to take each victim’s life. In Olivos-Gutierrez’s case, this would be impossible since it is very unlikely that Olivos-Gutierrez intentionally drove his car into the child he allegedly killed.
In Colorado, a person charged with first-degree murder is charged under statute, C.R.S. § 18-3-102. Section (a) of the statute is the common law “specific intent” and well-known requirement of premeditation when killing another person. Section (b) discusses the controversial “felony-murder” rule wherein if a person dies in furtherance of a violent felony, regardless of intent, the person committing the felony can be charged with first-degree murder. Olivos-Gutierrez is most likely being charged under section (d) which requires “a universal malice manifesting in extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Coloradans should know if this section since it is also the section that James Holmes is being charged under. While opening fire in a crowded theatre is almost certainly first-degree murder under section (d), it will be the job of the prosecutors to prove that being extremely intoxicated, never having a valid driver’s license, and being convicted of three previous DUI’s constitutes an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
If you have been charged with a DUI or other crime, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how the system works. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates, LLC, will work tirelessly to make sure your rights are protected at every level of the proceedings, and give you the best possible outcome. Call us today for a free consultation at (720)863-7755.