Michael Arreola guilty of getting 81-year-old drunk, trying to sexually assault her
We've all heard (or experienced) stories about people who return home to find their spouse in bed with a stranger. But what if the naked person in the arms of an unknown guy is your grandmother?
That's what happened in the case of an 81-year-old victim's granddaughter. And the circumstances that led to this startling discovery explain why jurors lowered every boom at their disposal on Michael Arreola -- who, despite his conviction, is currently on the streets. Details and more below.
The crime took place on July 31, 2012, in Wheat Ridge, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
Arreola, a 58-year-old self-employed carpet cleaner, knew the elderly victim through her ex-husband, and on the day in question, he took her to a bar in Wheat Ridge -- and he made sure she was well-hydrated.
Employees at the watering hole are said to have testified that Arreola "aggressively" ordered beers for the hour or two he and the woman were in the place, to the point where she was seen struggling to maintain her balance. She even fell into a wall before bar employees helped Arreola pour her into his truck.
The brews were flowing at the Edgewater bar.
The drive doesn't appear to have sobered her up. A neighbor testifying for the prosecution said Arreola turned up with the victim at around 6 p.m. that evening and had to practically drag her into the house, because she wasn't able to perambulate unassisted.
Several hours passed before the woman's granddaughter, who was in charge of her care, returned to the house. There, she found Arreola and her grandma naked in bed.
To understate the situation considerably, the granddaughter was very upset by the discovery -- and after she covered her grandmother with a blanket, she went next door, where her father lived, and told him what was going on. He responded by getting a gun, heading to the old woman's house, and ordering Arreola out of the house.
Shortly thereafter, a call was made to 911 -- by Arreola, who complained that he'd been threatened at gunpoint. But if he expected sympathy from law enforcers, he was sadly mistaken. When officers from the Wheat Ridge Police Department arrived, the 81-year-old was still too blotto to walk and began vomiting, suggesting to them that her dalliance with Arreola didn't qualify as a matter of free will -- as the woman's in-court testimony this month made clear.
Those assigned to consider Arreola's defense appear not to have been swayed by his take. Despite a trial lasting five days, a Jefferson County jury deliberated for less than four hours on Monday before finding him guilty on two counts of attempted sexual assault of an at-risk adult, one charge of unlawful sexual contact of an at-risk adult, plus attempted unlawful sexual contact of an at-risk adult and menacing.
He's set to be sentenced on August 29, and he faces a wide range of potential punishment -- perhaps probation or maybe twenty-to-life behind bars. In the meantime, he's free on a $1,000 bond.
Here's a larger look at Arreola's mug shot.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Brandon Johnson: Sex assault charge for getting into woman's bed, pretending to be boyfriend."