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Miguel Angel Ita, fifteen, should be charged as an adult with Lakewood murder, DA says (73)

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Photos, graphic below.
In the vast majority of cases -- even serious cases -- when juveniles are charged with crimes, prosecutors routinely decline to release their names.

So it's highly unusual that the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is sharing the name of fifteen year old Miguel Angel Ita, who's been charged in juvenile court with a multiple stabbing in Lakewood on April 21 in which 22-year-old Jose Barrera-Mendoza died.

The reason? The DA has already filed to move the case to adult court. Details below.

Barrera-Mendoza narrowly evaded death once before -- in December 2009, when he was eighteen. According to KOAA-TV, Andrea Hernandez-Almanza was behind the wheel of a Ford pickup when the vehicle crashed on Interstate 25 south of Fountain. Hernandez-Almanza is said to have veered onto the right shoulder of the roadway, then over-corrected, causing the vehicle to flip. Abelardo Mendoza-Garcia, 46, was killed in the crash, while the other occupants survived, but barely; Barrera-Mendoza, along with Mendoza-Garcia and an unnamed twelve year old, were ejected. No one was wearing seat belts.

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The 2009 accident scene, courtesy of KOAA-TV.
Barrera-Mendoza would not cheat the odds during the wee hours of April 21. At approximately 1:50 a.m., the Lakewood Police Department received a disturbance report that brought officers to the parking lot of an apartment complex at 285 South Jay Street.

Upon their arrival, they discovered three stabbing victims. One of the trio is said to have suffered relatively minor injuries, but the other pair were transported to a local hospital, where a man later identified as Barrera-Mendoza was pronounced dead.

Before long, a juvenile male -- now ID'd as Ita -- was taken into custody, and during a hearing yesterday, he was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault, plus five violent-crime-related offenses and eight aggravated-juvenile-offender beefs. The total: eighteen.

This matter took place in juvenile court. But Jeffco DA has filed a motion requesting a transfer hearing, so that Ita could be charged as an adult -- a procedure that likely has to do with changes in a rule known as "direct file." As our Alan Prendergast has reported, Colorado was one of just four states where prosecutors had discretion to prosecute offenders in the fourteen-to-seventeen age range in adult court without a judicial hearing on the issue. But those laws have changed, with the Ita case one of the first examples of how.

The date for a transfer hearing is expected to be set soon. In the meantime, a status conference in the case is scheduled for Monday, April 29.

Look below to see an interactive graphic of the area near the crime scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Charles Edward Harris ID'd as victim in 38th and Grape homicide, suspect under arrest (72)."



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12 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

He can be charged as an adult at age 15, facing LIFE in prison, (40 yrs), but is too young to smoke pot or work full-time legally .

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If Juveniles are going to be charged and held accountable as Adults, they should be given the Rights and Privileges of Adults -- Ipso Facto.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Timothy Black  

BINGO !

DarlingCR
DarlingCR

@Timothy Black it's about the nature of the crime, not the color of his skin. The ridgeway murderer is white and being tried as an adult, now what's your excuse?

JimTom
JimTom

@Timothy Black I don't care if he is purple, you stab 2 people to death you certainly shouldn't be let out in 5 or 10 years just because you weren't 18. You kill someone, sorry you lose that is it. Sorry no second chance with someone that willing stabbed 2 people to death.

JimTom
JimTom

Right on let 5 year olds drink and vote. The voting part couldn't hurt.

JimTom
JimTom

@Juan_leg it isn't racist when more 15 year old "minorities" are killing people than white 15 year olds. So this guy should just be let off with a few year because he is 15 and hispanic? The guy brutaly killed 2 people with a knife, you think this was just a teen accident? This guy is a cold blooded killer and deseves nothing but being convicted and paying a REAL pentalty for his crime.  

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@JimTom  

My 5 year old can do more 'Jello' shots than your 5 yr old !

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