Teen accused of murdering Fort Carson soldier, pregnant wife in court
Updated On: Sep 25 2013 06:47:02 AM CDT
A Colorado Springs teen accused of double-murder appeared before a judge Tuesday (9/24/13) for the first day of his preliminary hearing.
Macyo January is accused of killing a Fort Carson soldier and his wife at their home in broad daylight on January 14, 2013.
Dave Dunlap, 37, and his wife Whitney, 35, were shot and killed in their home after walking in on a burglary in progress.
January faces 4 counts of first-degree murder and 19 other counts in the case.
In the courtroom, police officers and detectives set up a timeline of what happened the morning of the shooting at 222 Bassett Drive.
At 11:10 a.m., the couple's alarm system went off.
Between 11:11 a.m. and 11:12 a.m., the security company contacted the Dunlaps on their cell phones alerting them of a possible intruder in their home.
At 11:35 a.m., Dave told his wife he is headed to their home.
At 11:50 a.m., a nearby business's surveillance camera captured Whitney's car pull into their driveway. Dave took a different way home so it's difficult to determine what time Dave pulled up.
At 11:55 a.m., Whitney's car rolled down the driveway and eventually stopped in the middle of the street. A police detective testifying explained the car was empty when it rolled down the driveway.
At 11:59 a.m., police were dispatched to the address to investigate.
The first police officer on scene found the home's front door open. He walked inside and found the Dunlaps shot to death in their living room.
The officer heard movement at the back of the Dunlaps' home. Later, police would find the lock was broken on the home's sliding glass door leading to the backyard. The security system also indicated the intruder entered through that door.
The couple's backyard was lined with a six-foot security fence. Police believe the killer jumped the fence to escape because one of the boards was broken.
The first officer that responded did not chase the suspect. Instead, the officer searched the house for other intruders but he didn't find anyone else at the home.
It was lightly snowing on and off during the day. Police described it as a dry snow making it difficult for them to compare footprints through the backyard. During cross examination of one detective, January's defense pointed out that there were not foot print comparisons done to match January's footprints to those at the scene.
Police detectives showed photos taken from inside the home to paint a picture of the scene when officers arrived. The couple's alarm system was ripped off the wall. There was jewelry scattered across the living room rug. In the office, there were computer cords but no computer. There were video game controls, DVDs, and other electronics scattered about the home's main floor.
The intruder also went through the couple's stocked nursery. The couple was expecting their first child. The drawers were thrown open. One detective said the drawers were full of brand new baby clothes and formula.
Detectives also said they found a large supply of firearms and ammunition inside the home. There was a bullet proof vest lying on the living room floor close to the deceased couple. There was also an assault rifle and two other guns in the couple's cars outside.
Detectives found two different bullet holes. One bullet hole Police say hit Dave, went through the living room window and lodged in the driver's seat of the couple's Ford Explorer parked in front of the house. The second bullet went through a wall separating the kitchen from the living room. It was about two feet off the ground. Police did not specify if that's the bullet they believe killed Whitney.
After going over the events on Bassett Drive, detectives were asked questions about an apartment at 2818 Airport Road. Police believe January was living there. They investigated the home several days after the shooting. The CSPD detective told the judge the two-bedroom apartment was "extremely cluttered." Police found "tons" of televisions and electronic equipment. In January's bedroom, they found a massive flat screen TV wrapped in a comforter under his bed. There was another flat screen in his room on a table.
In his closet, there were piles of garbage bags stuffed with clothes. Also, there was a puffy black jacket hanging in his closet that one police officer said he recognized while he chased January in December during a different case.
Police tracked down Macyo January, 18, at the Vistas at Citadel Apartments on east Bijou Street off of Academy Boulevard. Police said there was a lot of electronic equipment in that apartment as well. Jerel Couch, 19, was also arrested because he was suspected of being an accessory to murder for giving January a place to hide. Couch was later sentenced to 3 years at a juvenile detention center.
During this preliminary hearing, prosecutors with the District Attorney's Office must show the judge there is enough evidence against January to take the case to trial. The judge must also decide if the evidence and crimes are harsh enough to hold January without bond. The preliminary hearing is expected to wrap up Thursday.
Next, there will be a Reverse-Transfer hearing. During that hearing, the defense will try to get the case transferred from adult court back to juvenile court. January was 17-years-old when police say he committed the crimes.
If it stays in adult court, he will be tried as a juvenile in adult court. If he is convicted of first-degree murder, the maximum sentence he could receive would be 40 years in jail before the possibility of parole. A new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits juveniles from being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole because of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
If the case is transferred to juvenile court, one prosecutor on the case said the punishment would be much less severe if January was convicted of first-degree murder. He thought it could be as minimal as six years behind bars.
The judge will look at the severity of the case before determining in which court the case will be tried.
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