By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Monique spent a couple of days in the Jefferson County jail before she was transferred to Denver and charged as an adult.
Monique's family bonded her out a few weeks later. For the past year, she's been awaiting trial on six counts of attempted murder, one conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of first-degree assault, an accessory to attempted murder charge and two sentence enhancers for the weapons used in the crime.
Police records show that Monique identified Javier Padilla -- a seventeen-year-old who claims GKI -- as the dude with the assault rifle, and Roy Acosta as the one who fired the handgun outside McDonald's. The DPD soon arrested both.
The cops had already interviewed Roy the night of the shooting. According to police reports, he was at the scene where the cops found Monique and Vanessa's cars. Roy had insisted he hadn't been at McDonald's -- but on September 5, the day after his nineteenth birthday, he was charged with 22 counts: six attempted first-degree murders, two conspiracies to commit the murders, four first-degree assaults and ten sentence enhancers for crimes of violence. He'd been with his parents when police stopped the car and placed him under arrest.
Roy had already spent two and a half years in the juvie system. If he was convicted of the McDonald's shooting, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. "I never thought I'd see the streets again," Roy says. "It was a big reality check."
Roy has GKI affiliations but says he's not a full-fledged gang member. The word "outlaw" is tattooed in script on his neck, where two praying hands are also inked on his skin. On one arm is his mother's name, with two faces -- a reverse of the usual smile now, cry later design.
For Roy, the toughest thing about jail was being away from his family on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For Roy's mother, Renee Hicks, the toughest thing was the phone conversations with her son, who maintained his innocence. "We knew, we knew," she says, "but who's gonna believe us?"
A former Golden Gloves boxer, Roy wound up in the hole for thirty days after a fight. "My son's not perfect by any means, but he ain't no killer," Hicks told his public defender.
Three months after Roy was locked up, the Ignacio Police Department picked up eighteen-year-old Hector Cibrian in southwestern Colorado. According to his arrest warrant, Hector told the cops that he'd been a passenger in the Neon on the night of the McDonald's shooting.
On February 14, Hector met with Denver officers when he was in town for a petty-theft charge. They said he was being questioned as a witness to the McDonald's shooting and asked him to give a written statement and view a photographic lineup of people known to have been involved in the incident.
Hector viewed four photo lineups. He identified Javier Padilla as the right-front passenger who'd used the assault rifle. He identified Roy, too -- but said that Roy had been in the Monte Carlo with Monique and Vanessa, not in the Neon.
Roy was held another six weeks before all charges were dropped. He maintains that he'd never even seen Monique until one day in court when she identified him as the handgun shooter -- an act that sent him to jail for seven months.
Roy's looking for work as a welder, a skill he picked up in juvie. The last he heard about anyone in this case was earlier this summer. He was at a party, trying to pick up his life where it had left off, when someone with a cell phone asked, "Does anyone know Monique Trujillo?" Roy assumed Monique was on the other end of the call, casing the scene for potential trouble. Roy didn't respond. Instead, he left the party.
Roy's mother says that praying was the only thing that got the family through Roy's detention, and she continues to pray for Monique. "But you don't do that to people," she says. "You don't go around and jeopardize somebody's life like that. My son could've lost his life."
Hector was interviewed by the DPD again on June 1. He was told that they were still talking to him in his capacity as a witness, but that it seemed like his last statement was missing some information.
The officers noted that Hector seemed nervous but agreed to take a polygraph to prove that he'd told them everything he knew about the shooting. After he took the test, however, he told the cops that he, too, had fired a gun that night. He'd been sitting in the back seat of the Neon, on the right side, when they went to McDonald's. Hector said that he had the .38-caliber revolver, Javier had the assault rifle, and someone he knows only as "Louie" had the semi-automatic handgun. Hector insisted that he did not fire at the victims, but instead toward the parking lot.
Hector pleaded guilty to felony menacing in July. He's facing one to three years in prison when he's sentenced September 5, although prison time is not mandatory. He could not be reached for this story.