Preliminary hearing set in Doolittle murder case

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Tanner Flores

Tanner Flores

The Berthoud teen accused of killing his teenage girlfriend and driving her body to Mesa County in June made a brief court appearance last week. A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 12 in the case of Tanner Flores, the 19-year-old accused of shooting and killing Ashley Doolittle, 18, at the time of her death, on June 9.

A preliminary hearing is typically held to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trail in a case.

Flores appeared in an Eighth Judicial District courtroom at the Larimer County Justice Center in Fort Collins on Nov. 17 for a disposition hearing. However, a disposition in the case was not reached, according to public defender Daniel Jasinski. Disposition hearings are held to determine the appropriate sentence for a defendant if found guilty of a charge.

Flores is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree kidnapping. Although Colorado has a death penalty, it’s not been determined if District Attorney Cliff Reidel will seek the death penalty in Flores’ case.

Flores was arrested in Mesa County by Mesa County Deputies on June 10, a day after Doolittle’s family reported her missing and her car was found abandoned at Lon Hagler Reservoir west of Loveland.

Flores was later transported to Larimer County Detention Center in Fort Collins and charged with murdering Doolittle. Flores was discovered by deputies at a family-related residence in Collbran in unincorporated Mesa County after a neighbor reported seeing Flores’ 1999 Dodge Ram truck. When deputies arrived on scene, they found Flores and Doolittle’s body.

Investigators determined Doolittle was shot at Carter Lake, southwest of Loveland. Flores then allegedly drove to Collbran with Doolittle’s body.

Through interviews with family members, sheriff’s office investigators learned Doolittle had ended a one-year relationship with Flores just prior to her murder.

Doolittle graduated from Berthoud High School in May, just prior to her death. She was also an accomplished member of the Boulder County 4-H Club and has served as vice-chair of the Thompson FFA program. She was posthumously honored as the Boulder County Fair and Rodeo Queen this past summer.

Flores’ Jan. 12 preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Larimer County Justice Center in Fort Collins.