Jury begins deliberations in attempted murder case
January 25, 2013
Is Daniel Colondres a "violent stalker" who deliberately set out to kill the object of his obsession and her new boyfriend, or is he just an "immature" young man caught up in a "convoluted set of circumstances?"
Those were the two opposing viewpoints presented by Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson and Colondres' court-appointed defense counsel, Ken Tribby.
Ferguson and Tribby each presented their closing arguments to a jury of seven men and four women Thursday afternoon after a little more than two days of testimony from prosecution witnesses. Tribby opted not to call any witnesses and did not make an opening statement.
Colondres allegedly had been stalking Shanti Reynolds before attacking her and Taylor George in her Lake Wildwood home Aug. 20, 2011.
"Shanti and Taylor will never sleep the same way again," Ferguson said, comparing the assault to a slasher movie.
She said Colondres showed a pattern of long-term obsessive behavior, detailing a timeline that began in 2005, when he initially met Reynolds.
According to Ferguson, the assault in August 2011 was not "some spur-of-the-moment, rash decision."
Colondres is facing charges of attempted murder with a special allegations of great bodily injury and use of a deadly weapon.
If the jury finds him guilty of attempted first-degree murder, he faces a potential sentence of seven years to life. A second-degree finding carries a range of five to nine years in prison. The jury could also make a finding for a lesser charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Colondres also faces charges of making criminal threats, first-degree burglary, stalking, tampering with a phone and vandalism.
"This case is an absolute tragedy and a travesty in human affairs," Tribby said, calling the case stranger than any Hollywood screenplay.
Tribby added that he would not insult the jurors' intelligence by trying to claim that Colondres wasn't in Reynolds' room the night of Aug. 20, 2011.
But he suggested that Reynolds was the catalyst for much of what happened and said she lied when she told the jury she never had a sexual relationship with Colondres.
"If you think she is telling you the truth, there's a bridge or two you're apt to buy," Tribby said, adding later, "There's a big chunk of Shanti Reynolds she didn't want you to know about."
Tribby disputed the extent of the injuries sustained by Reynolds and George, telling the jury to review the medical records.
A puncture wound to George's back, for instance, was just 1 centimeter deep, Tribby said, even though he was flown to Sutter Roseville.
"It was more than he deserved, but is that what you would sustain in an attempted murder?" he asked.
Tribby said Colondres was "all mouth and no go," adding that no one actually saw him stab anyone and that it was not clear exactly how some of the wounds were incurred.
"If he went into that bedroom with the intent to kill … it would have been done without waking somebody up," he said. "Does it really add up to attempted murder?"
Yes was the prosecution's rebuttal.
"'We're all going to die tonight.' These are the words that Shanti and Taylor heard while (Colondres) was slashing them," said Ferguson's co-counsel, Ray De Jesus. De Jesus pointed to the mask, gloves and two knives that Colondres brought over as evidence of his intent and said that any prior relationship between Colondres and Reynolds did not explain his conduct.
The jury began deliberating mid-afternoon Thursday and left for the day without reaching a verdict. Deliberations are set to resume Tuesday morning.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.