Jury sees photos of purported infidelity in murder case
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The jury in a Glenwood Springs murder case saw photos Tuesday that defense attorneys say Gustavo Olivo-Tellez used to confront his estranged wife, Blanca Salas, about being unfaithful to him in the days before her death in October 2016.
Olivo-Tellez, 29, is accused of first-degree murder for shooting Salas four times at her apartment Oct. 7, 2016. His defense attorneys argue that the shooting was an act of passion, and not premeditated.
Lead defense attorney Garth McCarty called on paralegal Jody Visconti Clow, who has been part of the defense team since 2016, to introduce the low-resolution photos on the 10th day of the trial in Garfield District Court.
The photos were part of data collected from Salas’ cellphone showing conversations she had with Olivo-Tellez during the week leading up to the shooting.
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Clow testified that as she went through about 6,000 pages of raw data from Salas’ phone with Olivo-Tellez in 2017, he was subdued until he saw the two thumbnails.
“Then he just popped up and said, ‘There, those are the pictures,’” Clow said of Olivo-Tellez’s reaction during the interview.
Clow said it was her impression that Olivo-Tellez wanted the defense team to see the photos, as he believed they proved Salas had been with another man.
Other witnesses have indicated that Olivo-Tellez first saw the photos after going through the phone, which had been used by Salas before it was loaned to him. On the phone, he had access to an email account that contained the photos.
McCarty passed the two printed photos for the jury to see, and it was unclear what exactly the pictures show.
The photos were sent from the phone Olivo-Tellez was using three days before the Friday shooting. With the photos were accusations about Salas’ allegedly unfaithful behavior in Spanish.
In opening arguments of the trial, prosecutors said Olivo-Tellez was incensed by the pictures and it drove him to confront and eventually shoot his wife, who was living in Glenwood Springs while he stayed in Denver.
The defense maintains Olivo-Tellez was hoping to reunite with his wife, but lost control, intoxicated by methamphetamine and alcohol, and shot her in the heat of passion. Several witnesses, friends and family of Olivo-Tellez, testified Monday that they had either seen or suspected him of using methamphetamine.
The jury heard other defense witnesses Tuesday, including one investigator who visited a location that was likely where Olivo-Tellez would take friends to go shooting. His attorneys insist that he had the gun for recreational purposes.
The court dismissed the jury early Tuesday to discuss instructions for upcoming deliberations. The defense is expected to rest its case and begin closing arguments later this week.
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Pools in Aspen and Pitkin County will be allowed to open Monday, though COVID-19-related rules will apply.