Bond lowered for Glenwood Springs’ juvenile accused in March stabbing
Defendant’s cash bond requirement remains
New evidence, or the lack thereof, was raised by a defense attorney during a bond hearing for a 17-year-old Glenwood Springs resident accused of attempted murder in March.
Angel Rivas Tellez, 17, allegedly entered a home by force in south Glenwood Springs at about 2 a.m. on March 8, then stabbed a sleeping victim nearly 40 times, District Attorney Jeff Cheney told Judge James Boyd on Friday.
Tellez was charged as an adult and is in custody, after allegedly confessing to the crime; however, his defense attorney, Elise Myer, requested a modification to his $250,000 cash bond Friday based on new DNA evidence provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
During police interviews, the victim told police they punched the assailant in the head and bit down hard on the assailant’s right hand, possibly the thumb or index finger, Myer said.
When Tellez was interviewed by police the following day, he had no indications of wounds similar to the victim’s description, she added.
The assailant was dressed entirely in black, and a black glove was found at the scene in the victim’s bedroom.
Blood was also discovered in Tellez’s vehicle the following day at Glenwood Springs High School, Myer said.
DNA samples from the glove and vehicle seat were tested by CBI, and results excluded Tellez’s DNA from the inside and outside of the glove as well as the car seat, she said.
DNA from two different people was discovered on the outside of the glove, and while one sample was determined to be the victim’s, the second did not match Tellez, Myer said.
The nonmatching DNA sample on Tellez’s car seat did, however, match the nonmatching DNA on the outside of the glove, she added.
“Rarely do I receive a CBI report that says that someone’s DNA is excluded,” Myer said. “And that’s the report that I have right now.”
While she acknowledged the seriousness of Tellez’s confession, which included detailed information about the location of items related to the crime, Myer emphasized Tellez is presumed innocent until proven guilty. After reviewing the new evidence, she said it is possible Tellez played a role in the crime but was not the assailant, adding the exclusion of his DNA from the two samples mentioned was a significant reason his bond should be reduced and modified from a cash bond to a cash or surety bond.
A surety bond allows a party to post a percentage of the defendant’s bond, releasing the defendant from custody for a fraction of the total bond amount on the promise they will appear at all court dates related to the charges associated with the bond.
District Attorney Jeff Cheney responded to Myer’s statements by requesting the court keep Tellez’s current bond and bond type in place, based on a potential danger to the community Tellez could present if released.
“This was a planned and a violent attempt to kill the victim,” Cheney said. “If the victim had not been treated by emergency medical technicians quickly and immediately transported to the hospital, he may have died.”
Cheney said the DNA results Myer presented were easily explained, because the inside palm of the glove was tested for DNA, but Tellez allegedly wore a long-sleeved shirt with thumb holes in the cuff, effectively covering his palms during the attack.
“It is not a shock the accused’s DNA was not found in the palm of the glove that was remaining in the bedroom of (the victim),” he said.
Cheney did not address the additional DNA discovered on the glove or in Tellez’s vehicle.
Tellez’s confession was secured through interrogation, Myer said, after he repeatedly denied committing the crime. She said he only confessed after police told him it was the best course of action, and that they had additional evidence linking him to the crime, including surveillance video, which does not exist. No witnesses or neighbors reported seeing Tellez’s car at the scene, she added.
Cheney said police did not interrogate Tellez, but rather interviewed him, gaining a confession after showing Tellez a notebook allegedly belonging to him with notes about clothing similar to those reportedly worn by the assailant.
Tellez’s confession included details about where the assailant’s clothes could be found, Cheney said.
The defendant has no prior criminal record, Myer said, and several character references from friends and family. She argued that though he was born in Mexico, he was raised in the U.S. with his family, and thus, he did not present a flight risk.
Cheney responded that the seriousness of the charges made Tellez a significant flight risk.
“(The victim’s residence) was a house of horror that night,” Cheney said. “During the interview with police, you could see (Tellez) start to shake when they brought in that notebook… but he never showed emotion. He never asked about (the victim’s) condition.”
Parents of both the victim and the defendant made emotional pleas to the court.
The defendant’s mother described him as a good son, who was once friends with the victim.
The victim’s father described the fear he and his son continue to feel as they work toward healing after the attack.
Boyd said he weighed everything presented during the hearing carefully before deciding to lower Tellez’s bond from $250,000 to $150,000. The bond, however, will remain a cash bond, meaning Tellez or his family would need to post the amount in its entirety before he could be released from custody.
Because Tellez turns 18 in May, he is scheduled to be moved from juvenile detention to the Garfield County Jail general population.
Myer also requested a reverse-transfer hearing, during which a judge could be asked to determine if the case should be moved back to juvenile court.
The hearing was granted and scheduled alongside Tellez’s preliminary hearing on Aug. 8 and 10.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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