Prosecutors to lay out case in man accused in gruesome death
Associated Press Writer
DENVER ” The details of Luz Maria Franco Fierros’ dragging death in September are few but gruesome: an orange tow rope wrapped around the neck of her mangled, battered, and bloodied body found at the end of a more than mile-long streak of blood on asphalt.
Prosecutors Thursday for the first time were to describe additional details of the case to a judge who will decide if there’s enough evidence to place Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, 36, on trial for first-degree murder in the slaying, district attorney spokeswoman Kathleen Walsh said.
A judge last fall stopped short of issuing a gag order requested by Rubi-Nava’s defense but warned prosecutors and investigators to abide by strict state ethics rules. Those rules limit what attorneys are allowed to say about a case.
Attorneys on both sides have repeatedly declined to comment.
Authorities say the 49-year-old Mexican immigrant was dragged behind a car by her boyfriend until she died by strangulation and massive head wounds Sept 18.
Her body was found in a quiet subdivision near Castle Rock, 20 miles south of Denver.
Investigators found a photograph of the suspect at the scene, and a preliminary autopsy report determined how she died, but few clues have been made public since.
Her death raised more questions than answers for Franco Fierros’ friends and family.
Public defender Tamara Brady last year told Douglas County District Judge Paul King the case was garnering undue national attention, referring to a Sept. 21 speech given by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., on the floor of the U.S. House when he used the case as an example that the government doesn’t do enough to control illegal immigration. The speech was broadcast on the cable network C-SPAN.
Authorities say Rubi-Nava is in this country illegally.
According to the Congressional Record, Tancredo said, “If the everybody had done their job there, including the Federal Government, and the job had been done at the local level, this gentleman would have been off of the streets.”
Franco Fierros’ neighbor, Zulma Pulgarin, said last fall it seemed like the couple was in love. There were spats, she said, but usually it was Rubi-Nava who was the calmer of the two. Pulgarin said she often had breakfast with Franco Fierros after the two had argued and the fight would be over in a day.
Franco Fierros was a mother of three grown daughters in Mexico and a son who was 17 years old at the time of her death.
Rubi-Nava reportedly had a wife in Mexico.
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