Steamboat Springs The criminal case against one of the men charged in connection with the January fight that led to the death of Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lopez was delayed Wednesday after the man's Steamboat Springs attorney, Charles Feldmann, said more time was needed for discovery.
David Capote has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor third-degree assault for his alleged role in the Jan. 2 altercation at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat. Capote is not implicated in Lopez's death but rather for his suspected role in fighting with Lopez's two friends.
During Wednesday's hearing in Routt County Court, Judge James Garrecht said he was inclined to enter a plea of not guilty for Capote and proceed with the case. But after speaking with 14th Judicial District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham and Feldmann, Garrecht agreed to continue the case until 2 p.m. July 14.
David Capote and his family traveled from their home in Miami to attend Wednesday's hearing.
Oldham said a jury trial for the third-degree assault charges against David Capote could last five days, and Feldmann agreed that the trial would take longer than usual for a misdemeanor case because of jury selection.
The judge and attorneys also discussed Wednesday the possibility of combining David and Eduardo Capote's cases into one trial, something Oldham said she planned to support despite Feldmann's objections.
Lopez died Jan. 5 at a Denver hospital of severe head and brain trauma. The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office said an autopsy indicated Lopez suffered two hits to his face and then fell back and hit his head against the pavement.
An arrest warrant accuses Eduardo Capote, David's brother, of punching Lopez in the face, causing him to fall back and suffer the fatal head injury. Eduardo Capote is charged with felony second-degree assault and two counts of misdemeanor third-degree assault.
According to Eduardo Capote's arrest warrant, witnesses told police the Capotes instigated the fight and that neither Lopez nor his friends fought back. The altercation stemmed from the two groups' earlier disagreement about song selection on a restaurant jukebox, according to police.
After leaving the restaurant, the groups crossed paths at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street, where witnesses said the men yelled back and forth at one another. Independent witnesses told police that Eduardo Capote then rushed at Lopez and hit him in the face, knocking him to the ground, according to the arrest warrant.
Feldmann previously has said his clients were acting in self-defense and should not have been charged with any crime.
David Capote faces as many as two years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Eduardo Capote is scheduled to appear in Routt County Court at 8:45 a.m. July 2 for arraignment.