Murder case of woman with ties to Rifle edges closer to preliminary hearing
A homicide case involving a man accused of murdering a woman with ties to Rifle is starting to edge closer to a preliminary hearing date.
On Thursday, Jorge Solis, 24, who was arrested in late March after the body of 22-year-old Ana Victoria Rascon was found badly mutilated in southwest Gunnison County on March 6, was again in front of Gunnison County District Court Judge J. Steven Patrick.
Public defender Kori Zapletal requested that Solis receive an additional status conference before moving the case on to a preliminary hearing.
In April, Zapletal requested that the defense receive more evidence and any information related to Rascon’s death, which includes any additional forensics determined during the investigation. Zapletal asked for a continuance on Thursday “due to an issue of the next setting.”
“I have spoken with the district attorneys and we understand that because of the significance of the preliminary hearing, the impact the preliminary hearing setting has on potential negotiation, and because of the additional discovery we’re receiving in the need for additional investigation in to factual and mitigating information, we are requesting a continuance of about 30 days of the preliminary hearing setting,” Zapletal said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica Waggoner said the victim’s family would like to move forward, but the prosecution understands “where they’re at with the amount of information they’re receiving.”
Zapletal initially made three motions on behalf of Solis in April.
One requested that confidential experts be included during any testing in the case as well the freedom to perform their own testing.
The second requested that any conversations had between law enforcement and informants or “non-state actors” be monitored.
The third requested that the defense be notified in advance of any scheduled procedures related to testing.
Patrick denied Zapletal’s first motion but said the defense be notified two weeks in advance of any testing capable of consuming available evidence. In addition, he said no evidence gathered by the use of solicited informants is permissible.
After Rascon’s body was discovered, Solis was eventually arrested in Mesa County on March 17. According to the court documents, Solis was accused of knowingly attempting to set fire, burn, or cause to burn a building or occupied structure with Rascon’s body inside.
He was initially charged with three felony counts, including murder in the first degree, criminal attempt to commit first-degree arson and first-degree criminal trespassing.
Documents provided by the Seventh Judicial District state and accuse Solis of unlawfully and feloniously intending to “cause the death of a person other than himself,” which was “Ana Rascon.”
Solis’ next status conference is set for 10 a.m. May 27. A preliminary hearing could be determined during this meeting.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com
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