Reckless manslaughter the charge in Carbondale shooting

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The man who Carbondale police say accidentally shot his friend Bobby Rogers to death April 2 was formally charged in 9th District Court Wednesday.

Jesse McDaniel Brooks, 23, of Carbondale was charged with reckless manslaughter, a Class 4 felony. If convicted, Brooks could receive two to six years in prison, three years mandatory parole and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.

During the brief hearing, the courtroom seats were filled with around 40 people demonstrating support for Brooks. They filed out after the hearing, giving Brooks their best wishes and planning amongst themselves how they’d make it to Brooks’ arraignment, which Magistrate Daniel Petre set for 8:15 a.m. on May 16.

“I love them all,” Brooks said of his supporters outside the courtroom. He is free on a $5,000 bond.

Brooks’ defense attorney, Arnold Mordkin, said Rogers’ mother, who lives in Las Vegas, told him says she doesn’t harbor enmity toward Brooks.

“There is the opposite of animosity,” Mordkin said. “She understands it’s an accident and accidents happen. It’s my understanding that she doesn’t hold any ill will toward Jesse.”

According to reports, Rogers was helping Brooks move into a house at 1360 Barber Drive on the day of the shooting. The pair went out drinking and later that night. The shooting occurred when they came back to the house, court documents said.

The documents also say that earlier in the day, Brooks said he placed a bag containing an unloaded .22-caliber handgun on a kitchen counter. Rogers started playing with it, prompting Brooks to tell Rogers to put the gun away. Then Brooks took the gun from Rogers.

Sometime after 10 p.m., Brooks and Rogers went back to the house, where Rogers picked up the gun again, documents say.

“I had him in a headlock teasing him, don’t play with guns … wham, noise, body falls to the floor,” court documents say Brooks told police.

The police affidavit indicates that Brooks later changed his story, saying he loaded the gun earlier while he was sitting in his car.

Brooks also later told police he grabbed Rogers’ hand, causing the gun to fire, documents say.

“Don’t believe everything you read in the paper, and don’t believe everything you read in an affidavit for a warrantless arrest,” Mordkin said Wednesday. “Sometimes that’s taken as gospel when it’s not.”

Shortly after the shooting, Carbondale police chief Gene Schilling said a blood sample was taken from Brooks and the sample was to be tested for drugs and alcohol, but as of Wednesday, those results were not available.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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