Colorado DA asking court to reduce 110-year sentence for trucker in fatal crash to 20-30 years
Dec 27, 2021, 10:44 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:22 pm
(Lakewood Police Department)
(CNN) — A Colorado district attorney is asking a judge to reduce the sentence for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a trucker convicted in an interstate wreck that killed four people, from 110 years to 20-30 years.
A status hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King said in a Thursday statement.
“Based on the facts of this case and input from the victims and their families, my office will be asking the court to consider a sentencing range of 20-30 years when the Court is prepared to address resentencing,” King said.
“Given that the victims in this case have more than one view of an appropriate outcome, and this trial court heard the evidence presented, we believe that this hearing is the best path to securing justice for everyone involved.”
Defense lawyer James Colgan told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins he expects the 11 a.m. Monday hearing to be procedural.
“What I expect to go down is that we’re simply going to set this for another date in which both sides can be heard about what the appropriate reduction of sentence is,” Colgan said.
Aguilera-Mederos was driving 85 mph in a semi tractor-trailer in April 2019 when his brakes failed, he told investigators at the time. He crashed, causing a fiery 28-car pileup on I-70 that killed four people and injured others, the Lakewood Police Department said at the time.
Aguilera-Mederos, 26, was found guilty in October of four counts of vehicular homicide and 23 other charges, including six counts of assault in the first degree – extreme indifference; 10 counts of attempt to commit assault in the first degree – extreme indifference; two counts of vehicular assault – reckless; one count of reckless driving; and four counts of careless driving causing death.
He was sentenced December 13.
At the sentencing earlier this month, Colorado District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones said he was bound to the mandatory-minimum sentencing laws in the state, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.
In a motion requesting the hearing, King noted, “As Colorado law required the imposition of the sentence in this case, the law also permits the Court to reconsider its sentence in an exceptional case involving unusual and extenuating circumstances.”
The sentence reduction would not overturn Aguilera-Mederos’ conviction.
Colgan said the state’s sentencing laws need to be changed.
“The law doesn’t really distinguish between people like Mr. Medeiros, who is not a danger to society, and other people who are sentenced to life who are a danger to society,” Colgan said. “The law needs to make those kind of exceptions and understand there is a difference between Mr. Medeiros and those other kinds of people.”
The sentence drew immediate criticism, and an online petition urging Gov. Jared Polis to reduce Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence or grant clemency has gotten more than 4.7 million signatures.
Kim Kardashian West, who’s been active in criminal justice issues, posted a series of tweets about the case on Tuesday and ended by saying that Polis “is a really good person and I know he will do the right thing.”
Polis’ office told CNN that it is reviewing Aguilera-Medros’ clemency request.
“We just received Rogel Aguilera-Mederos’ application, and our legal team is currently reviewing it. Once we reach a decision, we will make an announcement,” press secretary Conor Cahill told CNN in an email.
In her statement last week, King said she and her team had spoken to the surviving victims of the crash and the families of those who died about the possibility of Aguilera-Medros being resentenced.
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