Leadville man sentenced to 36 years for murdering girlfriend
A Leadville man was sentenced to 36 years in prison Monday after he admitted to murdering his girlfriend on Jan. 12, 2021.
Jesus Alejandro Artica, 34, of Leadville, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on July 7. As part of his plea agreement, he cannot ask for a reduction in the maximum sentencing, but he did receive credit for time served, worth 595 days.
On the day of the killing, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call shortly after 1 p.m. from an unknown man who said he’d shot someone, according to a press release from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The caller detailed their location as the Mt. Massive Townhomes in Leadville, according to the affidavit in support of a search warrant.
As officers cleared out units, nearby residents provided photos of Artica going from Unit No. 5 to Unit No. 21. The photos were taken at about 2 p.m. as officers and deputies were out of sight clearing other areas, the affidavit states. Several pictures showed a man standing at the rear of Unit No. 5 wearing a black “Floyds” sweatshirt, green camouflage shorts and black-and-white Under Armor shoes. He was reportedly standing near the rear door “appearing to look around.” Investigators say he was then photographed entering Unit No. 21.
The door to Unit No. 5 was left open, and several law enforcement agents entered. As they cleared the unit, the agents found Artica’s girlfriend alive but with gunshot wounds in her upper body. She later died at St. Vincent General Hospital due to her injuries, which included a gunshot wound to the head.
No other residents or occupants were found with injuries.
A witness walked out of Unit No. 21 and said Artica was inside. Artica voluntarily walked out of the unit with his hands up, and he was arrested immediately.
Investigators received a search warrant to look through Unit No. 21 later that day.
Artica has a criminal history of theft, drug and alcohol use, as well as domestic violence and assault, according to the 5th Judicial District release. He was reportedly on parole from the Colorado Department of Corrections when he killed his girlfriend.
Most recently, Artica pleaded guilty to to driving with an open container of alcohol on Dec. 17, 2020. Before that, he pleaded guilty to felony theft of between $5,000 and $20,000. As part of his plea agreement, he received 21 months in prison and lesser misdemeanor charges of harassment and child abuse were dropped, 5th Judicial Attorney’s Office Spokesperson John Byran said. On Dec. 13, 2018, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of government operations and received six months’ jail time to run in concurrence with his prior 21-month sentence. Bryan said his criminal history continued on even farther.
“We hope that today’s sentencing begins to help heal their grief for this overwhelming loss,” said 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum Monday about the family of the victim.
Under Colorado law, a person commits the crime of murder in the second degree if the person knowingly causes the death of another person, but without premeditation as is the case with first-degree murder.
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