DA, public defender spar early over Cabrera case
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — District Attorney Sherry Caloia and the local public defender’s office already are clashing over the murder case against Fredy Argueta Cabrera, who is accused of killing the boyfriend of Cabrera’s stepdaughter and wounding the stepdaughter, in a shooting incident on July 31 south of Glenwood Springs.
And this is even before Cabrera, owner of two area restaurants known as El Horizonte in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, has appeared in court to face the charges against him (see related stories).
According to court personnel and Chief Public Defender Tina Fang, her office signed up to represent Cabrera on Aug. 1, the day after the shooting incident occurred and before Cabrera was arrested.
Cabrera, who is accused of fatally shooting Douglas Menjivar and of wounding Leydy Trejo during the shooting incident, had fled the area after the shooting, according to eyewitnesses. At about 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 1, he turned himself in at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Grand Junction and spent Thursday night in the Mesa County Jail before being returned to Garfield County on Friday.
The DA, noting that District Judge Denise Lynch has entered an order in the court files to appoint the public defender on Aug. 1, argued against that appointment, stating in a motion, “To date there has been no appearance [in court] at which the Public Defender could be appointed.”
Citing state law, the DA argued that “the public defender may not in any case represent or advise a person who has not made a court appearance in a pending matter.”
The DA’s motion also argues that, under state law, the public defender’s office can only be appointed to defend an “indigent person” as defined under Colorado statutes.
At the DA’s request, the judge set a hearing on the matter for Monday afternoon.
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