On Monday, Sandra Rivas testified in the trial of her common-law husband, Raul Gomez-Garcia (pictured), who's accused of murdering Denver police detective Donald Young in May 2005. While on the stand, she acknowledged having had a conversation with Gomez-Garcia in which he admitted shooting Young and a fellow officer (Detective Jack Bishop, who survived) after being expelled from a baptismal party. In the process, she confirmed that a controversialRocky Mountain News
story published days after the slaying was accurate after all.
A May 11, 2005, article penned by Fernando Quintero and Sarah Langbein was built upon the following revelation:
"He said, 'I'm going to tell you. Please forgive me.' And then he told me he had shot the security officers," Rivas said.
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At the time, this offering was seen as quite a scoop. But on June 6, the Denver Post printed a piece headlined "Suspect Wove Long Trail" that called into question the veracity of the Rocky's coverage. The report, by Sean Kelly and Elizabeth Aguilera, is no longer on the Post's website, but a key passage quotes Leopoldo Rivas, Sandra's father, taking an apparent slap at the Rocky. The section reads:
Rivas is still upset by reports that his daughter said Garcia-Gomez confessed to her. "We never said any of that. Not my daughter or I said he confessed. That didn't happen," he said. "Newspaper people now pass by and point the finger at me and my family. It gave me such pain."
This refutation got plenty of play at the time, particularly on Channel 9, the Post's TV partner. But don't expect to see a correction in the Post or on the station now that Rivas has repeated her original comments under oath. After all, a source disputed the Rocky's revelation, not journalists at either of these organizations. Nevertheless, Rivas' words offer belated confirmation that the Rocky had it right all along. -- Michael Roberts