Glenwood murder suspect accepts plea deal
December 11, 2007
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Jesus Hernandez de Jesus admitted Monday to murdering his nephew at the Ponderosa Cabins in West Glenwood Springs.
Hernandez de Jesus, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He originally faced a charge of first-degree murder, plus a weapons violation for possessing a firearm after a previous offense.
Police said he shot to death his 20-year-old nephew, Ricardo Navarrete Prudencio, on June 25 over an affair the man had with Hernandez de Jesus’ wife in Florida. Hernandez de Jesus was arrested the next night after an investigation headed by detectives with the Glenwood Springs Police Department.
“Why are you pleading guilty to this charge?” asked 9th Judicial Judge Daniel Petre.
“Because I did it,” said Hernandez de Jesus, speaking through a Spanish interpreter and listening to the translated proceedings through headphones.
“You committed the crime you are pleading guilty to?” Petre asked.
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“Yes, your honor,” Hernandez de Jesus said.
The second-degree murder charge carries a 16- to 48-year prison sentence, five years parole after prison, and possible fines of $5,000 to $1 million. If Hernandez de Jesus were convicted on the first-degree murder charge, he could have faced life in prison or the death penalty.
“The defendant approached [Navarrete Prudencio] outside on the sidewalk and proceeded to shoot him four times with what investigators believe was a handgun,” District Attorney Martin Beeson said.
The fourth “rapidly fatal” shot occurred while Navarrete Prudencio was already on the ground, Beeson added.
Navarrete Prudencio told his mother and co-workers that his uncle had threatened him in the past, according to an arrest affidavit, and that he planned to move back to Mexico the week he was shot because he was afraid of his uncle.
The affidavit says detectives found Navarrete Prudencio’s belongings packed as if he were about to leave, and witnesses told them that as he died, Navarrete Prudencio said, “My uncle, my uncle. Ouch, it hurts. My uncle, my uncle did this to me.” Detectives heard from family members after receiving calls on Navarrete Prudencio’s cell phone.
Petre said the plea agreement could affect Hernandez de Jesus’ ability to remain in and re-enter the United States, and asked if he was able to discuss it adequately with his attorneys. The defendant said yes.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 11. It could take most of the day and some of the two men’s family members are expected to appear. Some family members previously were described by a public defender as being “hysterical” while Hernandez de Jesus considered whether he would plead guilty.