West Glenwood shooter to be sentenced next week
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Jesus Hernandez de Jesus sobbed uncontrollably and apologized Friday for shooting his nephew to death in West Glenwood Springs.
He begged for forgiveness from God, his sister, his dead nephew, 9th Judicial District Judge Daniel Petre and “to the president of this nation and to all people.”
“I don’t know if I feel as if I’m alive or if I’m dead,” Hernandez de Jesus said through tears in Spanish. “I beg you to give me ” please ” a chance to be free, a chance to be a better man.”
His words were translated by an interpreter. At the conclusion of an all-day sentence hearing, Hernandez de Jesus, 34, put his head down on the table in front of him and wept.
Petre decided to take more time to consider the case before handing down Hernandez de Jesus’ sentence. Hernandez de Jesus faces 16 to 48 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in December. He originally faced a first-degree murder and a weapons violation for possessing a firearm with a previous offense.
Police said he shot to death his 20-year-old nephew, Ricardo Navarrete Prudencio, on June 25, 2007, over an affair the man had with Hernandez de Jesus’ wife in Florida. Hernandez de Jesus was arrested the next night after an investigation headed by detectives with the Glenwood Springs Police Department.
The deceased man’s mother and stepfather asked for a harsh punishment while Hernandez de Jesus’ wife and sister said he was a great person and pleaded for leniency. They spoke over the telephone through interpreters.
Felix Valdez said his stepson should be given a “life sentence” because if Hernandez de Jesus ever gets out of prison he’ll “fulfill his threat of coming down here and finishing us all off.”
An arrest affidavit says Navarrete Prudencio and Hernandez de Jesus are from Acapulco, Mexico.
“We have faith in the American justice system and we know that justice will be served, unlike it would be in the Mexican justice system,” Valdez said.
Hernandez de Jesus’ wife, Natividad Zacharias, said Navarrete Prudencio was involved with drugs, gangs and violence. She said he raped her while threatening to choke her young son to death.
According to Public Defender Garth McCarty, Hernandez de Jesus was blinded by his emotions about the rape and his nephew and eventually came to Glenwood to confront Navarrete Prudencio in “something akin to a citizen’s arrest” and bring him to justice. McCarty asked for the 16-year minimum prison time and argued Hernandez de Jesus didn’t intend to kill his nephew. He said Hernandez de Jesus pulled the trigger after seeing Navarrete Prudencio gesture with a shiny object in his hand.
“It was a panic situation,” he said.
But District Attorney Martin Beeson argued that Hernandez de Jesus knew there was never any rape and beat his wife because he was angry about the affair. Beeson asked for the 48-year maximum prison sentence. He said Hernandez de Jesus, who’s here illegally and has previously been deported, followed his wife to Nebraska after finding out about the affair.
Arguments about rape and being blinded by emotions are “red herrings,” Beeson said, because Hernandez de Jesus had a four-month period after learning about the affair to listen to the voice of reason before murdering his nephew. Navarrete Prudencio never scared Hernandez de Jesus with a shiny object because he was already on his cell phone when the confrontation occurred, Beeson said. Hernandez de Jesus also stalked his nephew in Glenwood before he “shot him down like a dirty dog and left him to bleed and die,” he added.
“This was not a heat of passion crime,” he said. “This was a premeditated, calculated, planned, cold-blooded execution.”
Hernandez de Jesus will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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