BOULDER — A Longmont man accused of murdering an 86-year-old gas-station attendant is scheduled to stand trial on his 22nd birthday.
Boulder District Court Judge Daniel Hale ruled Thursday that Ervey Delval, 21, will be tried beginning June 6 on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, attempted aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and committing a crime of violence. Hale heard four days of testimony since March 9 in Delval’s preliminary hearing.
To hold a defendant for trial, the judge must decide it is more likely than not that the crime occurred and that the defendant committed it. Comparing the extended preliminary hearing to a mini-trial, though, Hale noted the credibility of many witnesses is questionable.
“It will certainly be a challenge for the jury in this case,” Hale said.
Delval and David Rodriguez, 23, are accused of killing Charles Wilson during a robbery of the Peerless Tyre Co. gas station, 1380 S. Main St., at about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 12, 2003. Wilson’s body was found at about 4:45 a.m. Feb. 13, 2003, in the kiosk near the gas pumps. He had been shot in the lower abdomen, and the bullet lodged in his hip.
Although police quickly named Rodriguez as a suspect, he was not arrested until Feb. 9 in Longmont. Delval was arrested Jan. 7 in Boulder.
Police originally believed Rodriguez shot Wilson, but in November 2003 they changed their theory. During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors tried to show that Rodriguez knew Delval was going to rob the gas station and helped Delval escape the scene, but that Delval robbed the station and killed Wilson.
“There is a great deal of confusion regarding who killed, or fired the shot that killed, Mr. Wilson,” Hale said.
However, if prosecutors prove Rodriguez helped Delval commit the aggravated robbery, Rodriguez can be held responsible for the murder, even if he did not fire the gun.
The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office will not seek the death penalty against either man, which means they will face life in prison with no chance of parole if they are convicted.
Throughout the preliminary hearing, Scott Jurdem, one of Delval’s defense attorneys, tried to prove Rodriguez, his friends, his family and even a Longmont detective conspired against Delval.
Longmont Police Cmdr. Craig Earhart testified Thursday that he removed Detective Darin Marsing from the case in July 2003, after learning Marsing had a relationship with one of Rodriguez’s cousins.
Police had been told a detective was feeding information to the Rodriguez family, Earhart said.
“It seemed as though the families were one step ahead of us,” Earhart said while Jurdem questioned him.
Earhart said he investigated and determined the accusation was false.
Marsing made two phone calls to Melanie Holliday, Rodriguez’s cousin who now is known as Melanie Amaya, on Feb. 16, 2003, just hours before police searched the Rodriguez home for evidence connected to the murder, Earhart said. One call was three minutes long and the other lasted 28 minutes, according to telephone records presented as evidence Thursday.
After Earhart removed Marsing from the investigation, Marsing called Amaya and left a voice-mail message for her, Earhart said. Earhart obtained the message because another officer was investigating a domestic-violence case Amaya was involved in, the commander said.
Jurdem read a transcript of Marsing’s message in court: “Hey, hot pants, I need to talk to you. Give me a call. My commander wants to know who you are and I wouldn’t tell him.”
Amaya was an informant in the investigation, Earhart said. He had instructed Marsing to tell Amaya to report any new information to another detective, he said.
She never gave information to the other detective, Earhart said.
Amaya told detectives that Rodriguez usually drove a blue pickup truck, and that the truck had been moved to their grandmother’s property on Colo. Highway 119, Marsing testified.
Marsing, who is still employed by the Longmont Police Department, said he’d had a long friendship with Amaya before the murder.
“She and I talked fairly regularly before that, once every few months,” Marsing said.
Rodriguez’ preliminary hearing is set for May 3.
Victoria Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226, or by e-mail at email@example.com.