Four trial dates scheduled for Rizzuto for crime spree
Anthony Rizzuto, the last of a dozen local youths to go on trial over a series of armed robberies, burglaries and car thefts in 1999, now knows precisely when he will be on trial over the course of the next eight months.Ninth Judicial District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss on Monday set trial dates for the various cases against Rizzuto, who is accused of armed robbery, burglary, violating the conditions of his bond while free awaiting trial, and sexual assault on a minor.The trials, as scheduled by the judge, will be December 12-15, on charges that he and three others burglarized a home in the Twining Flats neighborhood; Jan. 16-19, 2001, on charges that he and Thomas Colver robbed the Aspen Alps condominium office at gunpoint; April 17-19, on charges that he violated his bond conditions while free from jail awaiting trial; and June 19-21, on the charge that he and a 14-year-old girl had sex at his house, again while he was out of jail awaiting trial on other charges.In court on Monday, aside from setting the trial calendar, the judge heard arguments on a motion by defense attorney Joseph St. Veltri to prevent the prosecution from introducing evidence that Rizzuto carried a semiautomatic pistol during one of his alleged crimes.According to Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills, Rizzuto was carrying a silver-plated, 9 mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol on the night of Sept. 20, 1999, when police say Rizzuto and three other local teens broke into a home in Twining Flats and stole three shotguns and a Range Rover.Wills argued that Rizzuto was in another stolen car, a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, that was being driven by convicted burglar Nathan Morse when it was pulled over in Boulder early on Sept. 21.Wills also noted that others in on the alleged burglary, who also went to Boulder to sell the shotguns and the cars, said Rizzuto was carrying the gun underneath his shirt.The prosecution cited statements made to police by convicted felons Moses Greengrass, Morse and Jacob Richards, all of whom have already been convicted in connection with the crime spree. Wills said that a pistol of that description was found in a backpack in the stolen Jeep, which crashed when Morse sped away from police after being stopped for running a traffic signal.Wills claimed the gun was stolen, and that police records indicate that Rizzuto was taking the pistol to Boulder to sell it along with the shotguns and cars.But St. Veltri, also citing statements made to police, pointed out that at different points both Richards and Morse seemed unsure whether Rizzuto had been carrying the gun that night.And, St. Veltri asked witness David Olmsted, “Bringing a 9 mm handgun to the scene [of the burglary] did not serve the purpose of the burglary at all, did it?””That’s correct,” replied Olmsted, a private investigator employed by St. Veltri to look into the Rizzuto case.St. Veltri said the pistol was not mentioned in documents that formed the basis for the charges against Rizzuto and accused Wills of trying to use the possession of a gun as a “prejudicial” facet of the case in an effort to convince jurors that Rizzuto is a dangerous individual.The judge said he would rule at a later time on St. Veltri’s motion to limit testimony about the handgun.
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