Defense attempts to lessen charges in Flores murder trial

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

 

The prosecution completed calling witnesses late Friday morning in the murder trial of Tanner Flores, 19, the Berthoud teen accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend Ashley Doolittle, 18, in June of 2016.

Mesa County investigator Danny Norris was brought back to the stand to complete his testimony. Clips of the video recorded interview Norris had with Flores the day after the murder were shown. Flores initially stated that Doolittle accidentally shot herself in the head but later in the interview he admitted that he was angry with her after she glared at him and turned away. Flores also admitted to being obsessed with who Doolittle had interactions with and had checked her phone to see who she was communicating with.

After the jury had been excused the defense made a motion for a judgement of acquittal in regards to the felony kidnapping charge Flores faces, which if convicted, carries up to a 32 year sentence in addition to the potential life sentences for both first degree murder charges. The District Attorney’s Office stated they would not seek the death penalty prior to the trial beginning despite it being an option for first-degree murder in the state of Colorado.

The defense, noting several kidnapping cases, said that Doolittle had agreed to meet with Flores and was not forced against her will, meaning that the criteria for the kidnapping charge had not been met. The prosecution argued it wasn’t clear if Doolittle had consented after Flores left the Lon Hagler reservoir parking area where the two had met and drove to Carter Lake. During the transit between the two locations she was murdered. Judge Greg Lemmons took a short recess to consider but denied the defense stating that the kidnapping charge would stand and that given the evidence the jury would have to decide if the evidence presented during the trial would substantiate those charges. He did however agree that the prosecution would not be able to argue to the jury that the kidnapping took place after Doolittle had been shot since it was testified by the medical examiner she could have potentially lived for more than an hour after what eventually proved to be the fatal shot.

In addition the defense also motioned to acquit Flores of the first-degree murder charges which was also denied by the judge. The defense has been attempting to prove that the murder was not premeditated which would downgrade the murder charges from first-degree which can result in a life-sentence to second degree which can qualify for as few as an 8-year-sentence up to 48 years with the possibility of parole.

The trial is scheduled to continue through next week as the defense will now take the helm. Several witnesses are planned to take the stand including family members of both Flores and Doolittle.

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