Rachel Aboytes, known to Denver-area hip-hop fans as Baby Smiley. Her murder remains unsolved.
Rachel Aboytes, known to Denver-area hip-hop fans as Baby Smiley. Her murder remains unsolved.
File photo

No Arrests in More Than Half of 312 Denver Homicides

From January 1, 2010, to the end of February 2017, nearly half of 312 homicides that took place in Denver didn't result in an arrest. Moreover, the victims in cases that were either closed without anyone being taken into custody or still unsolved were overwhelmingly black or Hispanic.

Our data comes from a remarkable project recently completed by the Washington Post. An investigative team at the newspaper spent two years compiling facts and figures related to 52,175 homicides in fifty U.S. cities. Included among them was Denver, which scored slightly below the national average. According to the Post, approximately 51 percent of the homicides the paper analyzed did not result in an arrest. In Denver during the time span studied by the Post, that number was more than 53 percent.

The Post's reporters weren't flawless. They categorized 169 of the 312 Denver homicides as either "open/no arrest" or "closed without arrest," but at least one of the former was incorrectly sorted: the January 31, 2017, murder of security guard Scott Van Lanken near Union Station. In January, Joshua Cummings was sentenced to life without parole for the slaying.

The demographic breakdown of the remaining 168 arrest-free Denver homicide victims: 67 were black, 56 Hispanic, 42 white, one Asian and two others listed as "other." Of the incidents themselves, 122 are still open.

What are some of the reasons the remaining 46 homicides were marked "closed without arrest"? We asked the folks at the Denver Police Department records division about five of the cases, chosen at random, and all of them were declined for prosecution by the district attorney at the time, Mitch Morrissey. The notes for each are below:

Anthony Howard-Crosthwait, killed January 1, 2010: "Case was refused by the DA — no likelihood of conviction. Couple arguing, victim took swing at suspect, who blocked swing and hit victim in neck."

Theodorick Brown, killed October 19, 2014: "Case was refused by the DA — no likelihood of conviction. Victim got into physical fight. Autopsy found death due to cardiovascular disease combined with drug intoxication and stress due to the physical altercation."

Herbert Packard, Killed October 29, 2011: "Case was refused by the DA — no likelihood of conviction. Elderly suspect suffering from severe brain injury at rehab hospital pushed elderly victim in attempt to [get] him out of his room. Victim died of complications weeks later."

Travis Sanders, killed September 22, 2015: "Case was refused by the DA, as it was determined that the victim was shooting simultaneously with the suspect."

Zachariah Chavez, killed November 17, 2016: "Case was refused by the DA — no likelihood of conviction. Self-defense and Make My Day."

As for the "open/no arrest" cases, not all of them remain a mystery. Take the murder of Nathan Leon in March 2013. His killer, Evan Ebel, was never arrested because he was killed during a shootout with police.

Of the other homicides among the aforementioned 168, there are plenty of bitter ironies. In the first few months of 2015, two men named Abdul Muhammad were murdered in Denver, and neither case has been solved. And then there's the terrible day of March 15, 2015, when four homicides took place in the Mile High City. Three of them are still open, and one was closed without an arrest.

Here's the list of the Denver homicides for which no one was arrested from the start of 2010 to early 2017.

January 1, 2010

Anthony Howard-Crosthwait
White
Male
38
Closed without arrest

January 11, 2010

DeShon Lee
Black
Male
19
Open/no arrest

The late Lonnell Franklin.
The late Lonnell Franklin.
File photo

Lonell Franklin
Black
Male
21
Open/no arrest
March 25, 2010

Rose Westendorf
White
Female
30
Closed without arrest

March 26, 2010

Max Olguin
Hispanic
Male
19
Closed without arrest

June 13, 2010

Leroy Oliver
Black
Male
73
Closed without arrest

July 12, 2010

Katsina Roybal
Black
Female
21
Open/no arrest

July 13, 2010

Jonathan Frost
White
Male
40
Open/no arrest

July 25, 2010

Joey Baca
Hispanic
Male
39
Closed without arrest

September 18, 2010

Carlos Limones-Limones
Hispanic
Male
30
Open/no arrest

October 13, 2010

Gary Cler
White
Male
55
Closed without arrest

October 17, 2010

Santiago Gutierrez-Hernandez
White
Male
26
Open/no arrest

October 26, 2010

Danny Craig
White
Male
49
Open/no arrest

October 27, 2010

Paul Cortez
Black
Male
21
Open/no arrest

November 9, 2010

Ronald Sanchez
Hispanic
Male
45
Open/no arrest

November 11, 2010

Juan Nevarez
Hispanic
Male
40
Open/no arrest

December 18, 2010

Caesar Barela
Hispanic
Male
41
Open/no arrest

December 20, 2010

Aderagaw Teklehaimanot
Black
Male
48
Open/no arrest

December 22, 2010

Jordan Nelson
Black
Male
21
Open/no arrest

Dontai Carter
Black
Male
20
Open/no arrest

January 22, 2011

Quentin Smith
Black
Male
21
Open/no arrest

Marvin Smith
Black
Male
33
Open/no arrest

March 12, 2011

Jacob Louver
White
Male
21
Open/no arrest

March 23, 2011

Amara Sayon
Black
Male
22
Closed without arrest

Cherise Houston, right, with her mom.
Cherise Houston, right, with her mom.
File photo

Cherise Houston
Black
Female
24
Closed without arrest

April 22, 2011

Heather Pierce
White
Female
33
Open/no arrest

May 17, 2011

Denise Fransua
Other
Female
44
Closed without arrest

May 29, 2018

Richard McDaniel
Black
Male
40
Open/no arrest

July 4, 2011

Dominik Johnson
Black
Male
28
Open/no arrest

August 7, 2011

Byron Parker
Black
Male
29
Open/no arrest

Donald Hubbard
Black
Male
52
Open/no arrest

August 11, 2011

Manuel Rojas
Hispanic
Male
24
Open/no arrest

September 17, 2011

Katrishay Quarles
Black
Female
18
Closed without arrest

September 18, 2011

Deshone Marquez-Jones
Black
Male
27
Open/no arrest

October 3, 2011

Alonzo Bencomo
Hispanic
Male
34
Open/no arrest

October 23, 2011

Pamela Legg
White
Female
64
Closed without arrest

October 29, 2011

Herbert Packard
White
Male
79
Closed without arrest

November 12, 2011

Elia Agapito-Anastacio
Hispanic
Female
39
Open/no arrest

January 1, 2012

Stephanie Hope
White
Female
38
Closed without arrest

February 14, 2012

Serril Allen
Black
Male
19
Open/no arrest

February 15, 2012

Justin Martinez
Hispanic
Male
24
Closed without arrest

March 9, 2012

Leroy Wright
Black
Male
55
Open/no arrest

March 23, 2012

Isaiah Garcia
Hispanic
Male
19
Open/no arrest

The late Jimma Reat.
The late Jimma Reat.
File photo

April 1, 2012

Jimma Reat
Black
Male
25
Open/no arrest

April 3, 2012

Toby Morine
White
Male
7
Closed without arrest

April 16, 2012

Pablo Del Rio
Hispanic
Male
22
Open/no arrest

April 27, 2012

Bertha Lopez
Hispanic
Female
43
Open/no arrest

May 9, 2012

James Dishmon
Black
Male
24
Open/no arrest

May 26, 2012

Richard Nack
White
Male
59
Open/no arrest

August 23, 2012

Israel Hernandez
Hispanic
Male
30
Closed without arrest

October 3, 2012

Matthew Gianopoulos
White
Male
21
Open/no arrest

October 16, 2012

Miguel Medrano
Hispanic
Male
29
Open/no arrest

October 17, 2012

Koan Yarter
White
Male
Less than 1
Open/no arrest

November 2, 2012

Ryan Haldeman
White
Male
28
Open/no arrest

December 15, 2012

Demetrius Cruz
Hispanic
Male
15
Open/no arrest

January 24, 2013

Deborah Hubbard
Black
Female
58
Closed without arrest

February 6, 2013

Nevaeh Morales
Hispanic
Female
4
Closed without arrest

February 6, 2013

Erick Perez
Hispanic
Male
1
Closed without arrest

February 7, 2013

Alan Cardenas
White
Male
33
Closed without arrest

Nathan Leon in a Facebook photo.
Nathan Leon in a Facebook photo.
File photo

March 17, 2013

Nathan Leon
Hispanic
Male
27
Closed without arrest

March 27, 2013

Michael Chavez
Hispanic
Male
41
Open/no arrest

April 27, 2013

Daniel Lovato
Hispanic
Male
39
Open/no arrest

June 1, 2013

Blanca Hernandez-Diaz
Hispanic
Female
28
Open/no arrest

June 22, 2013

Gabriel Scott
Black
Male
22
Open/no arrest

July 2, 2013

Amber Moore
White
Female
28
Closed without arrest

July 7, 2013

Charles McLaughlin
White
Male
29
Closed without arrest

July 13, 2013

Shaquille Hargrove
Black
Male
19
Open/no arrest

July 26, 2013

Joseph Strock
White
Male
42
Open/no arrest

August 23, 2013

Harry Morgan
Black
Male
26
Open/no arrest

September 1, 2013

Jose Gutierrez-Peredia
Hispanic
Male
25
Open/no arrest

September 18, 2013

Clint Burtts
White
Male
52
Open/no arrest

September 29, 2013

Luis Adame-Luevanos
Hispanic
Male
19
Open/no arrest

October 15, 2013

Lamar Mathis
Black
Male
41
Open/no arrest

October 21, 2013

Isaac Montoya
Hispanic
Male
23
Open/no arrest

November 14, 2013

George Jackson
Black
Male
62
Open/no arrest

December 2, 2013

Steven Jones
Black
Male
44
Open/no arrest

December 26, 2013

Alexander Tower
White
Male
37
Open/no arrest

Francisco Gutierrez
Hispanic
Male
39
Open/no arrest

January 12, 2014

Jose Diaz
Hispanic
Male
67
Open/no arrest

January 23, 2014

Taunya Carlino
White
Female
46
Closed without arrest

March 1, 2014

Richard Sims
Black
Male
31
Open/no arrest

Dontai Carter
Black
Male
23
Open.no arrest

March 17, 2014

Andre Thompason
White
Male
57
Open/no arrest

March 18, 2014

Dwayne Kelly
Hispanic
Male
52
Closed without arrest

May 31, 2014

Pedro Padilla
Hispanic
Male
53
Open/no arrest

June 18, 2014

Alexander Duran
Hispanic
Male
50
Open/no arrest

June 28, 2014

Dwight Blackmon
Black
Male
31
Closed without arrest

July 17, 2014

Christi Martinez
Hispanic
Female
37
Open/no arrest

August 10, 2014

Eliel Olguin
Hispanic
Male
17
Open/no arrest

August 15, 2014

Daniel Ussery
White
Male
57
Open/no arrest

August 24, 2014

Phillip Lucero
Hispanic
Male
48
Open/no arrest

August 29, 2014

Christopher Peacock
White
Male
41
Closed without arrest

August 1, 2014

Dondie Thomas
Black
Male
49
Open/no arrest

October 9, 2014

James Boles
Hispanic
Male
29
Open/no arrest

October 19, 2014

Theodorick Brown
Black
Male
45
Closed without arrest

November 23, 2014

Kevie Durham
Black
Male
24
Open/no arrest

November 25, 2014

Michael Milton
Black
Male
27
Open/no arrest

December 31, 2014

Toshio Gilmore
Other
Male
33
Open/no arrest

January 4, 2015

Daerius Churchill
Black
Male
22
Open/no arrest

The younger of the two men named Abdul Muhammad killed in Denver during early 2015.
The younger of the two men named Abdul Muhammad killed in Denver during early 2015.
File photo

January 16, 2015

Abdul Muhammad
Black
Male
22
Open/no arrest

February 15, 2015

Marlow Martin
Black
Male
27
Open/no arrest

March 15, 2015

DeAnthony Williams
Black
Male
30
Open/no arrest

Tyrael Adams
Black
Male
28
Open/no arrest

Jeffrey Starks
Black
Male
27
Open/no arrest

David Edwards
Black
Male
53
Closed without arrest

March 25, 2015

Rachel Aboytes
Hispanic
Female
21
Open/no arrest

April 11, 2015

Abdul Muhammad
Black
Male
61
Open/no arrest

April 25, 2014

Nolan Ware
Black
Male
22
Open/no arrest

April 28, 2015

Dominique Perez
Hispanic
Male
26
Open/no arrest

May 3, 2015

Armando Uribe-Rodriguez
White
Male
34
Open/no arrest

July 1, 2015

Harry McCabe
Hispanic
Male
24
Open/no arrest

July 19, 2015

Carlos Ruiz-Reyes
Hispanic
Male
22
Open/no arrest

July 29, 2015

Eric Walker
Black
Male
46
Open/no arrest

July 31, 2015

Jorge Lopez-Ramirez
Hispanic
Male
17
Open/no arrest

August 12, 2015

Derrick Wilford
Black
Male
36
Open/no arrest

August 15, 2015

Jose Frias-Olivas
Hispanic
Male
61
Open/no arrest

August 17, 2015

Judith Katchen
White
Female
78
Open/no arrest

August 28, 2015

Tracy Winn
Black
Male
48
Closed without arrest

September 22, 2015

Travis Sanders
Black
Male
34
Closed without arrest

Sergio Evelyn-Moe
Black
Male
28
Closed without arrest

October 10, 2015

Dareon Tarbor
Black
Male
30
Open/no arrest

October 31, 2015

Jacob Wiens
White
Male
24
Closed without arrest

November 6, 2015

Christopher Nelson
White
Male
32
Closed without arrest

Christian Martinez
Hispanic
Male
21
Open/no arrest

Michael Marshall died in Denver jail.
Michael Marshall died in Denver jail.
File photo

November 11, 2015

Michael Marshall
Black
Male
50
Closed without arrest

November 19, 2015

Joel Gomez
Hispanic
Male
20
Open/no arrest

November 23, 2015

D'Andre Mayfield
Black
Male
20
Open/no arrest

December 2, 2015

Philip Munoz
Hispanic
Male
35
Open/no arrest

January 23, 2016

Varnell Jenkins
Black
Male
29
Closed without arrest

January 30,2016

Victor Mendoza
Hispanic
Male
46
Closed without arrest

February 4, 2016

David Castillo
Hispanic
Male
28
Open/no arrest

March 12, 2016

Jose Cortez
Hispanic
Male
46
Open/no arrest

March 31, 2016

Jesse Lopez
White
Male
50
Closed without arrest

Scott Breitinger was killed in a Denver alley.
Scott Breitinger was killed in a Denver alley.
File photo

April 3, 2016

Scott Breitinger
White
Male
45
Open/no arrest

April 12, 2016

Marc Koenig
White
Male
35
Open/no arrest

June 28, 2016

Cara Russell
White
Female
52
Closed without arrest

June 30, 2016

Tyrone Moore
Black
Male
39
Closed without arrest

July 3, 2016

Kurt Gillotte
White
Male
45
Open/no arrest

July 9, 2016

John Field
Hispanic
Male
50
Open/no arrest

July 14, 2016

Irma Smith
Black
Female
90
Closed without arrest

July 30, 2016

Gailen Armstrong
Black
Male
20
Open/no arrest

Santy Orozco-Uribe
Hispanic
Female
26
Closed without arrest

July 31, 2016

Sheryl Fierro
White
Female
54
Closed without arrest

August 3, 2016

Nina Rosenfeld
White
Female
95
Closed without arrest

August 21, 2016

Osbaldo Zavala-Hernandez
Hispanic
Male
18
Open/no arrest

August 28, 2016

Frank Chavez
White
Male
53
Open/no arrest

September 11, 2016

Gerald Hammons
Black
Male
38
Open/no arrest

September 12, 2016

Gervais Spencer
Black
Male
45
Open/no arrest

October 1, 2016

Rene Wells
Black
Male
34
Open/no arrest

October 12, 2016

Deonta McDonald
Black
Male
19
Open/no arrest

David Henderson
Black
Male
48
Open/no arrest

October 15, 2016

Quinasia Russell
Black
Female
23
Open/no arrest

October 17, 2016

Jordan Valdez
Hispanic
Male
23
Open/no arrest

October 22, 2016

Jose Jacquez
Hispanic
Male
31
Open/no arrest

October 29, 2016

Orlando Jackson
Black
Male
27
Open/no arrest

Terrence Ashley
Black
Male
34
Open/no arrest

November 8, 2016

Juan Ramos
Hispanic
Male
23
Open/no arrest

Charles Polzin
White
Male
49
Open/no arrest

November 9, 2016

Nathanel Simpson
Black
Male
30
Closed without arrest

November 17, 2016

Zachariah Chavez
Hispanic
Male
50
Closed without arrest

Luis Zamora-Ornelas
Hispanic
Male
20
Open/no arrest

November 27, 2016

Kim Sanghyuk
Asian
Male
16
Open/no arrest

Rufino Perez
Hispanic
Male
54
Open/no arrest

December 25, 2016

Kayla Burke
White
Female
21
Open/no arrest

January 11, 2017

Ernesto Villalobos-Razo
Hispanic
Male
41
Open/no arrest

February 7, 2017

Tim Cruz
White
Male
32
Open/no arrest

February 14, 2017

Richard Hammond
White
Male
63
Open/no arrest

February 25, 2017

Clarence Thomas
Black
Male
33
Open/no arrest

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