Plea deal rejected in Carbondale murder case
An apparent attempt at a plea agreement for Arturo Navarrete-Portillo fell through Wednesday.
The Carbondale man faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Maria Portillo Amaya. She was slain in February with a machete before Navarrete-Portillo crashed his SUV into the rear of a cattle truck and then told emergency workers about the crime while being flown to a Grand Junction hospital.
He later told authorities he was trying to kill himself when he rear-ended the truck.
“He said he killed his wife, he doesn’t know how it happened, but he left in his car because he was crazy at that time,” investigators reported in the arrest affidavit in the case.
Prior to what she described as a disposition hearing Wednesday afternoon, deputy public defender Elise Myer talked at length with her client. The actual hearing lasted barely 10 minutes.
“At this time, Mr. Navarrete-Portillo does not wish to enter into a plea agreement,” Myer told Judge James Boyd.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett didn’t seem surprised.
“The potential disposition that had been put out there by the people is no longer a viable one for the defendant,” he said.
Barrett took the opportunity to make a motion to add a charge in the case: child abuse. He declined to comment further.
The arrest affidavit said that two children were in the apartment when the body was found later in the afternoon of the slaying, but provided no detail about how long they might have been there. It also suggests that a 6-year-old child of Navarrete-Portillo and an ex-wife may have been in the apartment during or shortly before the incident.
Navarrete-Portillo remains in Garfield County Jail with no bond and will, barring another disposition, next appear in court on Dec. 21.
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