The 14 Most Shocking Colorado Crimes of April

Our monthly mug shot roundups typically include photos from a wide variety of crimes.

They range from the minor yet newsworthy (and sometimes even funny) to the serious and shocking.

But in April, we published so many stories about extremely major offenses that they called for a post all their own.

Look below to see booking photos from the fourteen most disturbing crime stories of the month, complete with introductory text from each report and links to our original coverage.

When the fourteen-year-old girl woke up unclothed in bed with Isaias Villa, twenty, he insisted that he'd taken care of her — not taken advantage.

His DNA told a different story.

Villa has now been charged with sexual assault against the teen — though it took nearly a decade to make the case....

Read more in: Isaias Villa Busted for Sex Assault on 14-Year-Old He Pretended Never Happened

Last month, we told you about a Park Hill shooting that killed a man and injured a woman.

Initial details were scarce, but the gang unit was reportedly on the scene.

Weeks later, more information has emerged.

The man killed was Tarell Burton, eighteen — and a young father, as noted on a GoFundMe page created to raise funds for Tarell Burton III, the son he left behind.

Injured was Bernice Serrano, twenty, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds and (update) remains hospitalized weeks later with terrible injuries.

Moreover, two men — Keon Nixon, 24, and Eli Mayfield, nineteen — have been formally charged in the incident....

Read more in: Keon Nixon, Eli Mayfield Charged With Killing Teen Dad Tarell Burton

Deaths caused by child abuse or neglect are among the most horrific crimes imaginable given the helplessness of the victims.

Consider the cases of Sydney White, who confessed to kicking an eleven-month-old to death, or Heather Jensen, whose two children, ages four and two, died in a running car while she was having sex nearby.

But even when placed in this context, the details about the death of three-year-old Bethannie Johnson contained in an arrest affidavit on view below are absolutely shocking.

Shanna Gossett, Bethanie's aunt and guardian, allegedly confessed to keeping the child in a closet for two weeks and hiding her body under her bed rather than seeking help after she pushed the girl's head into a wall....

Read more in: Cops: Shanna Gossett Put Child in Closet for 2 Weeks, Hid Dying Body Under Bed

"I'm about to do something stupid," Colorado Springs's Patrick Orozco reportedly said on one fateful night in November 2014.

And he was right.

Orozco has now been convicted of doing something very stupid, and very deadly — murdering Eugenio Solorio-Gomez, a former lover of the girlfriend who'd just given Orozco the boot two days earlier....

Read more in: Patrick Orozco Before Love Triangle Kill: "I'm About to Do Something Stupid"

In March 2014, we told you about the arrest of Thomas LaPerch for the murder of William Burchett, a longtime local musician he met via a Craigslist ad.

Now, just over two years later, LaPerch has been found guilty of the crime.

According to the First Judicial District DA's office, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its verdict.

And now, the 24-year-old LaPerch faces the prospect of a life behind bars....

Read more in: Thomas LaPerch Met William Burchett Through Craigslist Ad, Then Killed Him

"Let's make one thing clear from the jump," I wrote at the top of this post at the time of its original March 18 publication; we've incorporated material from it in this item. "David Batty hasn't been charged with murder after a dead woman's body was found inside a trunk at his apartment. Not yet, anyway."

That's now changed — but it took the better part of a month for it to happen.

Batty, who was initially being held on parole violations, has been formally accused of murdering the aforementioned woman, subsequently identified as Tonya Lei Webster, the married mother of two kids.

And while the arrest affidavits in the case remain sealed at this writing, we've got additional information about Webster, whose husband says she and Batty knew each other....

Read more in: David Batty Finally Charged With Killing Tonya Lei Webster, Putting Body in Trunk

It was one of the most shocking and brutal allegations of early 2015.

And now, Joseph Romero, the man at whom the finger was pointed, has acknowledged it was true.

Romero has admitted guilt in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Phenia Martinez, when she was eight months pregnant.

The concession is part of a plea agreement that puts Romero away for a long stretch — and while he will still have a chance to breathe free air again, it's a slim one....

Read more in: Joseph Romero Admits Killing GF Phenia Martinez 8 Months Into Pregnancy

Continue to see more people accused in the most shocking crimes of April.

On the day after Christmas in 2011, as we reported, father of five Youn Malual was murdered in an incident that shattered the local Sudanese community.

More than four years later, Brandon Jackson — one of five men thought to have been responsible for the slaying — has been found guilty of murder and more.

The conviction was based on evidence that Jackson and his compatriots mistook Malual for a member of a rival gang.

As such, Malual was an innocent bystander who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time....

Read more in: Brandon Jackson Guilty in Gang Shooting of Innocent Bystander

At first, the cause of death for Oklahoma's Joshua Foster and Zach Moore in northern Colorado last year appeared to be a vehicle fire.

But further investigation suggested that they'd been murdered, with the fire presumably set to cover up evidence of the crime.

And now, months after their passing, two people — Samuel Pinney and Samantha Simmons — have been arrested on suspicion of having killed them.

Pinney sports a head tattoo that reads "Outlaw."

In addition, a third person, Nathaniel Young, is in custody in relation to the case. He's accused of playing a role in the robbery that precipitated the deadly chain of events....

Read more in: Sam Pinney, Samantha Simmons Busted in Double Murder: Pot Heist the Motive?

There's no lack of evidence against Rusty Barnhart regarding a sexual assault that dates back to 1984.

DNA ties him to the crime, and an arrest affidavit on view below quotes him as admitting that he had sex with a woman under very similar circumstances around that time after Inocencio "Junior" Trevino, who's also charged in the case, claimed that the victim "wanted it."

Nonetheless, neither Barnhart nor Trevino is being charged with sexual assault, because the statute of limitations for this offense has expired — and that would be true even if a current piece of Colorado legislation extending these limits becomes law.

Instead, the men face kidnapping charges that could net a sentence as small as four years behind bars....

Read more in: Why Rusty Barnhart Won't Be Charged for Horrific Rape Linked to His DNA

Branden Harms is said to have watched his girlfriend's baby for a few hours earlier this month.

What happened over that span is unclear.

But one thing is certain.

Just over a day later, the child was dead — and Harms has been arrested under suspicion that he was responsible....

Read more in: Branden Harms Busted for Murder: Babysitting Followed by Infant's Death

Some folks remain uncomfortable with the prevalence of HALO cameras on Denver streets, typically because they don't like the idea that Big Brother is watching them.

But law enforcers counter that the cameras help them catch criminals who might otherwise go unpunished.

A case in point: Former taxi driver Hidet Molla has now been found guilty of kidnapping, sexual assault and more against an incapacitated passenger who tells investigator she woke up to find him in bed with her and asking, "Are you a virgin?"

A number of factors outlined in the original arrest affidavit, on view below in its entirety, made nabbing Molla difficult. However, the cops were able to zero in on him using HALO video....

Read more in: Cabbie Hidet Molla Guilty of Sex Assault on Drunk Passenger: "Are You a Virgin?"

Last summer, a family member of Camille Harrell, who was murdered in June, told us that the "gentle giant" was killed after defending her twin sister, Carmen, at East Colfax's Sand & Sage Motel.

Now, in the wake of Brandon Foote's conviction for the crime (Merita Curry, who's also charged in the case, is still awaiting trial), a previously sealed arrest affidavit has been released — and it confirms this account.

According to the document, on view below in its entirety, Camille fired a warning shot to stop an assault on Carmen by Foote and Curry. Shortly thereafter, the report goes on, Foote gunned her down....

Read more in: Affidavit: Camille Harrell Killed After Warning Shot to Defend Twin Sister

How much was Timothy Gomez's life worth?

According to a jury, Charlie Brammeier valued it at $20 — the amount of a drug transaction prosecutors say led to Gomez being beaten to death by a Mag-Lite flashlight.

But the cost to Brammeier will turn out to be infinitely higher than that....

Read more in: Jury: Charlie Brammeier Killed Timothy Gomez With Flashlight Over $20 in Crack
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts