Gustavo Olivo-Tellez pleads not guilty in homicide of estranged wife in Glenwood Springs
Gustavo Olivo-Tellez, charged with first-degree murder in the October shooting of a Glenwood Springs woman, pleaded not guilty Thursday.
The victim, Blanca Salas-Jurado, was Olivo-Tellez’s estranged wife and the mother of his 3-year-old son, who prosecutors have said was at the scene when she was killed.
His defense attorney, Garth McCarty, reluctantly entered the plea. McCarty told the court his office had trouble accessing some discovery items that the prosecution had supplied, and he had requested a continuance for entering a plea and setting a trial date.
The defense had not been able to open some evidence contained in electronic media, he said, though Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett argued that neither his office nor the judge had any problem accessing those files.
McCarty stressed his concern that this hang-up was hampering his ability to serve as effective defense counsel and that the court should not force his client to enter a plea before he’s been able to see all of the evidence against him. McCarty said he wanted to make a record of his objections because the issue is likely to be revisited in the case.
Partly out of concern that the case was being dragged out too long, Judge John Neiley, however, did not allow this continuance and required the defense to enter its plea.
In order to buy more time, the defense waived Olivo-Tellez’s right to a speedy trial, which would normally require a trial to be held within six months of formal filing of charges.
Olivo-Tellez was arrested in Grand Junction, after prosecutors say he shot Salas-Jurado multiple times in her apartment south of Glenwood Springs, ditched the gun and ammunition in the Roaring Fork River and fled town with his girlfriend, Michelle Castillo. Castillo is also facing charges, including accomplice to first-degree murder.
Olivo-Tellez will be in district court June 15, when a trial date is expected to be set. Attorneys discussed having the trial sometime in late December or in January.