The 25-year-old man who was arrested as an accessory in the fatal hit-and-run outside a Golden bar had his bond reduced from $100,000 cash to $50,000 cash.
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Ernesto Avila and co-defendant Ruben Marquez, 29, had separate court appearances the week of Nov. 7.
The two were arrested on Oct. 9 after Marquez reportedly drove Avila’s truck into a crowd of people outside The Rock Rest Lodge. One man was killed, and several others were injured.
The District Attorney’s Office has filed 17 charges against Marquez, including first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, and multiple assault charges.
Avila, the truck’s owner, was believed to be a passenger during the incident outside The Rock Rest. However, Jeffco Sheriff’s deputies reported Avila was driving when JCSO stopped the vehicle shortly afterward.
He’s been charged with one felony count of accessory to a crime.
Avila appeared in court Nov. 7 for a bond reduction hearing. An arraignment was also scheduled, but was continued to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 9. Avila may enter a plea at that time.
Marquez appeared in custody Nov. 9 for a motions hearing, during which the court, defense attorney and prosecutor discussed discovery procedures ahead of his Dec. 16 preliminary hearing.
Judge Lindsay VanGilder noted how Marquez’s preliminary hearing will start at 8:30 a.m. and is expected to last all day Dec. 16. Marquez will appear in person, although VanGilder said other parties may attend via WebEx or in the courtroom.
Avila’s bond reduced
Avila was present in the courtroom Nov. 7 after posting a $100,000 cash bond shortly after his arrest.
While Jeffco Sheriff’s Office investigators are recommending several possible charges against him, Avila’s attorney noted how the District Attorney’s Office only filed one charge against his client. Thus, the defense felt the court should consider reducing the $100,000 bond to $10,000.
Avila’s defense attorney noted his low-risk score based on a pretrial assessment, saying Avila has a stable address and employment and doesn’t have a passport.
The prosecution objected to lowering Avila’s bond, citing the seriousness of the allegation and how Avila was reportedly the one behind the wheel in the aftermath and was intoxicated at the time.
VanGilder remarked on the results of the pretrial risk assessment, saying Avila’s previous criminal history was two driving offenses from 2012-2015. However, she also acknowledged the serious allegations against Avila, saying she was concerned he’d driven away from the scene of a crime.
She decided to reduce bond to $50,000 with conditions that Avila doesn’t seek a passport, consume drugs or alcohol, possess a weapon, return to the Rock Rest, or have contact with Marquez or anyone involved in the case. Avila must also continue his pretrial supervision.
VanGilder also expected Avila to attend his Jan. 9 arraignment in person.
The Oct. 9 incident
The arrest affidavits for Marquez and Avila describe how the two and another man rode together in Avila’s truck to The Rock Rest Lodge on Oct. 8. They had several mixed drinks throughout the night, and reportedly talked to another group "about gang issues." Accounts vary on whether the discussion was light banter or more contentious.
Around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 9, a verbal confrontation between Marquez’s group and the other group outside reportedly escalated into a fight. Witnesses described a man matching Marquez’s description as getting into Avila’s white truck and driving it into the crowd, with one witness telling investigators, “The way he swerved into people was on purpose.”
Several Rock Rest patrons and employees were injured, and 26-year-old Adrian Ponce was killed.
Of those who were injured, four were transported to the hospital, including two bar employees. All were expected to make full recoveries, JCSO stated on Oct. 10.
JCSO also stated Oct. 10 that investigators hadn’t confirmed whether it was a gang-motivated crime, and they didn’t believe any of the parties involved knew each other before their encounter at The Rock Rest Lodge.
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