GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Josue Joya, accused of being an accomplice to a murder that happened on July 31, has asked a judge to decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to hold him for trial.
Joya, 20, faces charges that include conspiracy to commit murder and murder in the first degree, under the theory that anyone involved in a murder is charged with the murder, for his alleged role in driving around the valley with accused shooter Fredy Cabrera on the day that Cabrera allegedly murdered Douglas Menjivar.
Joya is being represented by local attorney Garth McCarty, who was appointed by Judge Denise Lynch as “alternate defense counsel” at the state’s expense. Lynch appointed McCarty after the local public defender’s office informed Lynch they had a conflict of interest because chief local Public Defender Tina Fang is representing Cabrera.
McCarty requested a preliminary hearing in the case against Joya, and the judge scheduled the hearing for Oct. 22. A preliminary hearing is held so that a judge can hear about the basic case, and make a ruling as to whether she believes the prosecution has sufficient evidence to warrant a full trial.
Menjivar, 21, reportedly had angered Cabrera by moving in with Cabrera’s 18-year-old stepdaughter, Leydy Trejo, at an apartment complex south of Glenwood Springs.
According to authorities, Joya told investigators that he drove around with Cabrera, 39, for part of the day on July 31. Joya said he had picked Cabrera up at a home on Missouri Heights, where Cabrera left his own truck. Joya allegedly told investigators that Cabrera was drinking beer as the two drove around.
That night, Joya allegedly told investigators, Cabrera convinced him to drive to the apartment complex where Menjivar and Trejo were said to be living together. At the complex, Cabrera allegedly shot and killed Menjivar, and at the same time wounded Trejo in the leg.
According to court documents, Joya admitted to police that Cabrera took a pistol out of his own truck’s glove compartment before climbing into Joya’s Jeep.
When the Jeep pulled into the parking lot of the complex, Joya allegedly told police that he and Cabrera waited for a while until Cabrera saw a car pull into the lot and got out of the truck, tucking the pistol into his pants. A pistol was later found by police at the murder scene, although no information has come out as to whether it is believed to be the murder weapon.
Joya has denied knowing anything about Cabrera’s intentions. As soon as Joya heard the shots, he told police, he drove away in his Jeep and left Cabrera at the complex.
A continuing mystery in the case is how Cabrera got from the apartment complex to Grand Junction, where he was arrested on Aug. 1 by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
Joya was arrested at his home on Aug. 3, according to court documents, and remains in the Garfield County Jail on a bond of $250,000.
If convicted, he could go to prison for up to 48 years.
Cabrera, who is being held on a murder charge without bond, is facing either life in prison or the death penalty.