Dotsero murder suspect claims self-defense
EAGLE – Charles Gross shot his .44 Magnum four times at the driver of a pickup truck in self-defense, the defendant testified during his trial Monday morning.Gross, 57, would react the same way if he were put in that situation again, he said.”That’s how much fear I had. I was afraid for my life,” said Gross, who is accused of shooting to death Maria Madrid at a Dotsero campsite in 2005.Gross saw Madrid’s husband, Eliseo, reach for something between the front seats of a pickup truck as the tinted passengerside window was being rolled up, Gross said.Gross walked back toward the campfire and saw the truck moving toward him so he fired at Eliseo Madrid, he said.The first shot that Gross fired hit Maria Madrid’s head and killed her the evening of Oct. 7, 2005, as she, her husband and then-14-year-old Joel Madrid were leaving a Deep Creek campsite on Coffee Pot Road north of Dotsero, investigators have said.Coming back from a hike, Gross approached the Gypsum family’s Toyota pickup and asked Eliseo Madrid twice to pick up the family’s trash, Gross said.Gross called Eliseo Madrid “malicious” and added that Eliseo Madrid showed “hostile intent” during their interactions about the trash, he said.During cross examination, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert called Gross’ decision to fire his gun a “guess.”Gross acknowledged that he did not see Eliseo Madrid with a gun or a knife and called his reaction an “educated guess.” Gross continued to fire the shots as the truck drove in reverse, Gross said.But he did not intend to kill Maria Madrid, he said.”My intent was the driver because he was the problem,” Gross said.Hurlbert asked whether Gross could have run away from the truck.”I wouldn’t have got very far,” Gross replied.Because he was “upset and confused” after the shooting, Gross ditched his white camper truck and camped in the area until he was arrested Oct. 10, 2005,After his arrest, Gross told a sheriff’s deputy that “it was rage, pure rage,” Hurlbert said.Gross said he did not say that.”I said that rage was a terrible thing,” Gross said.Gross is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder and also second-degree assault.
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