Man awaiting retrial in Glenwood Springs on second-degree murder charge held on $1 million bond

A former Grand Junction man who had his 2019 murder conviction for the shooting death of his estranged wife at a rural Glenwood Springs apartment in 2016 sent back for a new trial is now being held on $1 million cash bond.

In Garfield County District Court on Thursday, Brooks Robinson, the newly appointed attorney for Gustavo Olivo-Tellez, argued for only a $100,000 bond, because, what was originally a first-degree murder case in 2016, is now being reconsidered under a second-degree murder charge.

Robinson said the charge now being leveled is a class 2 felony, as opposed to class 1, and that based on other recent class 2 felony cases in the Ninth Judicial District, the $100,000 bond would be appropriate.

Deputy District Attorney Don Nottingham, however, referenced the gruesome facts of the case, in which Olivo-Tellez was already once convicted for the October 2016 shooting death of his estranged wife, Blanca Salas-Jurado, at her home outside of Glenwood Springs, and with their then 3-year-old son in the house at the time.

“I would note that when he was caught (in Grand Junction), the defendant was on his way out of town, and very likely on the way out of the country,” Nottingham said at the Thursday hearing.

After his arrest and throughout his trial in February-March 2019, Olivo-Tellez was being held on a $2 million cash-only bond.

Robinson said $1 million is essentially “the same as no bond. Nobody can post a million-dollar bond, that’s not reasonable.”

Also weighing in via video conference during the bond-setting arguments at the Thursday hearing was Salas’ sister, Karla Salas, who agreed with Nottingham’s suggested bond amount. 

“No one but a millionaire can post that, but that’s the point,” she said. “Here we are again after six years, and I’m not ready for this to go away. He needs to be incarcerated.” 

Olivo-Tellez, now 33, allegedly shot Salas-Jurado twice in the face and twice in the abdomen, and then fled the scene at the Pinon Pines Apartments in Spring Valley with their son.

He then allegedly confessed to his girlfriend, Michelle Castillo, that he had killed Salas, and disposed of the gun he used in the Roaring Fork River, according to documents in the case. 

After abandoning his car in Rifle, he, Castillo and the son all drove to Olivo-Tellez’s home in Grand Junction. He was later arrested in a nearby motel by the Grand Junction Police Department’s SWAT team.

Olivo-Tellez was initially charged with first-degree murder, but the jury after the more-than three-week-long trial acquitted him on those charges and instead convicted him of second-degree murder, saying they were rejecting his “heat-of-passion” defense. He was sentenced to 48 years in prison

In July 2022, Olivo-Tellez won an appeal to have the case retried, and earlier this year was returned from the Colorado Department of Corrections to the Garfield County Jail, where he was being held on open-bond status until Thursday.

He had served time in the Crowley County Correctional Facility while awaiting his appeal, and before his conviction had been in the Garfield County Jail since his October 2016 arrest.

Before the trial, Judge John Neiley, who is still presiding over the case, denied Olivo-Tellez’s attorney’s motion to have a recorded confession suppressed on grounds that it was not voluntary. During the trial itself, Neiley also rejected multiple defense calls for a mistrial.

A three-judge Colorado Court of Appeals panel last summer sided with Olivo-Tellez’s attorneys and remanded the case for a new trial.

On Thursday, the defendant waived his right to a speedy trial. Otherwise, trial would have had to be set by this fall, which attorneys on both sides said would be too soon to prepare.

Neiley, in setting the bond, noted the public safety component, flight risk and the fact that Olivo-Tellez no longer has ties to Garfield County or employment.

Robinson could file a motion to have the bond amount reconsidered. The case was set for a status conference at 9:30 a.m. July 13. 

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