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Anthony Escobedo busted for Billy Newson homicide near Colfax-Pearl "drug market" (41)

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Update:Denver Police have busted Anthony Escobedo, 31, in the March 18 slaying of Billy Newson in the vicinity of Colfax and Pearl. Escobedo reportedly has at least one major conviction in his past. As for Newson, his arrest history suggests to Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough that he probably "struggled with addiction problems."

According to the DPD, Escobedo was taken into custody near the 1000 block of Decatur Street. His booking photo is not being released at this time pending further investigation, but he's presumably posed for one before. According to the Denver Post in a brief linked above, he pleaded guilty to an assault/drugging victim count in Denver circa 2009 -- an offense for which he was put on supervised probation for four years.

Newson has considerably more documented interactions with the law. Kimbrough says his city citations go back to 2001 and run through earlier this year. Random counts involving crimes like trespassing and giving false information are represented, but the overwhelming majority of them are drug-related and comparatively minor. In her examination of arrest documents, Kimbrough saw no crimes of violence listed.

In 2008, Newson drew eighteen months in the Department of Corrections -- likely "because he had been through the system so many times," Kimbrough speculates. The next year, he was charged with escape (probably the equivalent of failure to appear instead of a bust-out) and earned another six months in stir. And he'd collected what Kimbrough describes as a "general ticket for drugs" in 2012.

The website for Uptown on the Hill, a neighborhood association, describes the area near the scene of the crime as an "open air drug market" -- one that neighbors have been urging police to bring under control for months. The headline on its original piece about the homicide begins "It Was Only a Matter of Time."

Look below for our earlier coverage.

Update, 1 p.m. March 20: Billy Newson, 29, has been identified as the victim of a homicide near the intersection of Colfax and Pearl during the early morning hours of March 18.

The Denver coroner's office has established the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head.

Newson's Facebook page is private. About the only information it offers is his fondness for Rihanna and the TV show Cops. There are, however, a few photos, including this one with a crucifix prominently displayed in the background.

A post affixed to one of the photos yesterday reads, "R.I.P BILLY.....GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN."

Another photo of Newson appears on the website Mugshots.com. The post lists four convictions on May 14, 2010, with sentences of two years, eighteen months, eighteen months and six months, respectively, as well as a reference to a parole assignment in the South Metro area. We've got a call in to Lynn Kimbrough at the Denver District Attorney's Office seeking more details. After hearing from her, we'll update this post.

Look below to read our previous coverage.

Original post, 5:40 a.m. March 19: St. Patrick's Day in Denver was all about revelry. But during the wee hours of the next morning, the situation took an ugly turn near the intersection of Colfax and Pearl.

Which explains why the Denver Police Department has launched a homicide investigation into the death of a gunshot victim.

Thus far, the DPD is keeping the details hush-hush. All we know at this point is that officers responded to a call at 2:57 a.m., and when they arrived in the vicinity of the aforementioned intersection, they discovered a man who'd been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word yet about the identity of the victim or suspect information. But the department is reaching out to the public in search of anyone with additional knowledge about the crime or its perpetrators. If you fit this last description, call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

In the meantime, look below to see a very brief 9News item about the incident, as well as an interactive graphic showing the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Top 19 most wanted Denver murder suspects."

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