Court overturns conviction for Colorado campsite killing
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – A man convicted of killing a woman in a dispute over trash at a campsite near Dotsero has been granted a new trial.
The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Charles Anthony Gross, 59, on Thursday, saying trial jurors weren’t told they could consider self-defense. Gross was convicted in July 2007 in the shooting death of Maria Madrid, 35, of Gypsum.
Authorities said Gross fired four shots at a vehicle as Madrid, her husband, Eliseo Madrid, and their son Joel, then 14, left a campsite north of Dotsero in October 2005. Gross testified that he had feared for his life.
Judge Daniel M. Taubman wrote in the opinion that an error in the instructions to the jury deprived Gross of the opportunity to argue he had acted in self defense.
Eliseo Madrid said they argued when Gross accused the Madrids of not cleaning their campsite after they picnicked.
Gross testified in 2007 that he had seen Eliseo Madrid reach under the seat of the car for what he thought was a weapon. Gross said he opened fire when Eliseo Madrid started driving the pickup toward him, and he was shooting in self-defense.
Gross was convicted in 2007 of first-degree murder with extreme indifference, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault.
He was sentenced to life in prison plus 100 years. At the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Mark Hurlbert said, “Even though he had no (criminal) record, just the heinousness of the crime warranted that long a sentence.”
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Just in time for Halloween, the Pitkin County Board of Health voted 4-2 to reduce the size of informal gatherings from 10 to five for at least the next two weeks starting Friday. According to the public health director, officials are currently investigating 11 outbreaks in Pitkin County.