Crime spree earns man 42-year prison sentence | SummitDaily.com

Crime spree earns man 42-year prison sentence

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily

EAGLE — Jesus Miranda has spent more time in jail than out, and that won't change for the next four decades.

Miranda apologized for shooting a good Samaritan while robbing two local check cashing businesses. Miranda was sentenced to 42 years in prison for his crime spree. He admitted to attempted murder and five other felonies.

Prior sex assault

Miranda's criminal history is almost as old as he is. When he was a teenager he was sentenced to juvenile jail for two years, prosecutors said. After his release, he committed a "violent" sexual assault that lasted two hours, holding a flathead screwdriver to his victim's throat. When she tried to resist or fight back, he pushed the screwdriver harder onto her throat and repeated his threats to kill her.

Prison is where he became affiliated with criminal gangs, prosecutors said.

Miranda's trail of trouble

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Miranda wasn't out of the legal woods from his last bout with the law when he tried to rob two local check cashing stores Sept. 4, 2015.

He had an open case in Eagle County for fighting. He turned himself in Aug. 18, 2015, and was in court six days later for a bond hearing.

In 2011 he pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender, a Class 1 misdemeanor. In 2007 he did the same thing.

"This is a good day for the citizens of Eagle County and the victims in this case," said District Attorney Bruce Brown. "The amazing actions of our good Samaritan, Mr. [Alan] Gonzalez and solid law enforcement investigation have ensured that this threat to the community has been taken off the streets for decades to come."

Incompetent crime spree

On Sept. 4, 2015, Miranda and a 17-year old female tried to rob two check cashing businesses — Dinero Rapido in Eagle and Tienda Montes in Gypsum — within a half hour of each other. He got no money from either.

At Tienda Montes in Gypsum, he held two women at gunpoint. He hit one of the women in the face with the butt of his pistol when she told him there was no money in the safe.

Alan Gonzalez watched the Tienda Montes robbery attempt through the store window. When Miranda and the 17-year-old girl fled the store, he pointed his gun at Gonzalez, told him not to call the cops and tried to run away.

Gonzalez chased Miranda down, wrestled him to the ground and grabbed him in a headlock.

Miranda shot Gonzalez three times, once in the chest. Gonzalez was rushed to the hospital and has since fully recovered.

Getaway gone wrong

Garfield County resident Daniel Happle drove Miranda's getaway car, but they didn't get far.

Happle picked Miranda up from his hiding place, behind a dumpster in a Gypsum convenience store. From there, Happle rolled west at 50 mph along Interstate 70 through the 20 mph construction zone that was Glenwood Canyon at the time.

When Happle turned west on U.S. 6, he topped 100 mph. A Garfield County deputy tried to pull him over for an expired plate near New Castle.

Near Coal Ridge High School, Happle slowed to around 10 mph and jumped out of the car to flee on foot, leaving Miranda in the passenger's seat. Once a deputy managed to pull the car's brake, Miranda identified himself as Roberto Neveraz, of whom there was no record, so police added criminal impersonation (a felony) to his long list of charges.

Meanwhile, Happle was found about a half hour later by the Glenwood Springs Police Department's K9 unit, hiding in some bushes. Police told him to come out, and when he refused, police reportedly sent the dog in to fetch him, which it did.

Police said they smelled alcohol, and started questioning Happle, who told them he had eaten a bag of methamphetamine during the pursuit, according to his arrest affidavit.

Miranda's 17-year old female accomplice is serving a six-year sentence in juvenile jail.

Arnaldo Lucero Almanza, 22, and Mateo Serna-Gutierrez, 24, are also facing charges in the case.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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