Sus­pect in ’77 mur­der re­turns to Colorado

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Kirk Mitchell

An 84-year-old mur­der sus­pect wanted in con­nec­tion with the 1977 shoot­ing death of a man in down­town Den­ver has been re­turned to Colorado fol­low­ing his cap­ture in Texas, au­thor­i­ties say.

Ben­ito Soto is charged with one count of first-de­gree mur­der for the shoot­ing death of Ar­mando Gar­cia. The charge was orig­i­nally filed in Septem­ber 1977.

The charge al­leges that on the night of June 21, 1977, Soto shot and killed Gar­cia at the De­nampa Bar on Larimer Street, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease by Ken Lane, spokesman for the Den­ver District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

Soto was iden­ti­fied as the killer at the time of the shoot­ing and a war­rant was is­sued for his ar­rest, but he fled Den­ver and the case went cold be­cause his where­abouts were un­known.

Af­ter the fugi­tive unit of the Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment dis­cov­ered Soto was liv­ing in Texas, the Den­ver District At­tor­ney’s Cold Case Unit re­opened the case.

Cru­cial wit­nesses were rein­ter­viewed and Soto him­self was in­ter­viewed in Texas by a Den­ver po­lice cold case de­tec­tive and a Den­ver district at­tor­ney cold case in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Soto was re­turned to Den­ver ear­lier this month.

This is the old­est case the Den­ver DA’s Cold Case Unit has pros­e­cuted to date.

Soto is be­ing held with­out bail at Den­ver city jail. A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing has been sched­uled for April 21.

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