Cerda pleads guilty, Pinkard receives additional hearing during Thursday’s court

In a series of hearings on Thursday, the Glenwood Springs court dealt with significant developments in cases involving Jacob Cerda, Jewel Gist, and Janvier Pinkard.

Cerda, involved in a 2022 domestic disturbance dispute, reached a plea agreement with the district attorney. 

Shortly after midnight in September of 2022, Rifle Police Officer Michael Pruitt and Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Lester Gherardini unloaded their firearms at Cerda near the 400 block of Munro Avenue in Rifle after they believed Cerda had a weapon on him. Cerda was shot in the hand. 

Cerda was booked into jail in November of 2022 and was charged with first-degree felony assault on a peace officer, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and misdemeanor prohibited use of a weapon.

Jacob Noel Cerda
Garfield County Detention Center

On Thursday, He pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon by a previous offender and second-degree assault.

Judge Denise Lynch accepted Cerda’s plea, setting a Jan. 4 sentencing date. The possession charge could result in up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine, while the assault charge carries a maximum 12-year sentence. Cerda is currently residing in a sober living facility.

Pinkard’s case, involving allegations including menacing, first-degree burglary, criminal intent to commit first-degree kidnapping, intimidation of a victim and felon in possession of a weapon.

Accused of entering a Silt foster home with a handgun in 2020, Pinkard has been in custody since December 2020. Pinkard facesadditional misdemeanor charges like child abuse and harassment.

In early December 2022, Pinkard pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his mental condition to felony charges.

Janvier Pinkard.

As the hearing has continued to ensure that Pinkard is issued a mental-health evaluation to determine his competency, District Attorney Ben Sollars expressed his concerns regarding the length of Pinkard’s case.

“We are about to hit the three-year anniversary of the life of this case,” Sollars said. “I just want folks to be on notice that we keep delaying substantive things that need to occur prior to the trial, and I am making a record now that the prosecution has been unnecessarily burdened by this delay.”

Lynch expressed her agreement with Sollars, emphasizing the need for a hearing outside the presence of the people. With the trial lingering for nearly three years, the court is eager to progress. Pinkard’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 27.

Gist, taking stand for escaping Rifle Correctional Facility in April, was convicted in Lincoln County of robbery and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He has been incarcerated since 2016.

Jewel Gist.

Gist was transferred back to a maximum-security DOC facility following his re-capture on April 11. Gist’ sentencing was continued to Dec. 7 during Thursday’s court.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.