Eduardo Capote to plead guilty to manslaughter in Steamboat

Capote agrees to 3-year jail term for reckless action in 2009 fight

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Eduardo Capote

— Eduardo Capote will plead guilty to manslaughter and has agreed to three years in jail in connection with the early 2009 fight that led to the death of Richard Lopez, according to new filings at the Routt County Justice Center.

Capote was found not guilty of third-degree assault in connection with the fight, but jurors could not decide on the more serious charge of second-degree assault, a Class 3 felony, relating to his fight with Lopez. Attorneys began working on a deal immediately after the trial, and with input from police and the victim’s family, the two sides settled on a Class 4 felony charge of manslaughter. The plea deal acknowledges that Capote acted recklessly in the incident.

The deal will not be final until April 16, when Capote will officially change his plea in front of District Judge Shelley Hill. Capote has agreed to three years in jail as a part of the deal, but Hill will decide the final sentencing and is not bound by the agreement Capote reached with the District Attorney’s Office.

Capote’s brother, David Capote, also was charged with third-degree assault in connection with the fight and was found not guilty by the jury during the brothers’ joint trial that ended Feb. 10.

Defense attorney Charles Feldmann said he was confident the defense could have won a retrial, but the risks were too high for Eduardo Capote.

“It was a very painful decision for Eddie Capote and his family,” Feldmann said.

Because the second-degree assault charge was designated as a crime of violence, the judge automatically would have sentenced Eduardo Capote to prison if he was found guilty. The crime of violence designation also makes it harder for prisoners to get paroled, Feldmann said, and the prison sentence would have been longer.

“When you really sit down and figure out the true life impacts, it allows him to move on with his life,” Feldmann said. “Up to 16 years of real prison time (from the assault and crime of violence charges), that’s hard to recover from.”

Defendants often serve about half of their sentences before they are eligible for parole, and Feldmann said Eduardo Capote would be a good candidate for parole because he has a child and a wife, a job waiting for him and no prior convictions.

Reached by phone, District Attorney Eliza­beth Oldham said she worked with Lopez’s family, with his sister Mary Ventura acting as a spokeswoman, before reaching the deal.

“I think we are relieved that it’s done and the family can move on,” Oldham said. “The family was really strong going through the trial, but obviously it was very traumatic.”

She said the DA’s office would not have gone ahead with the deal without approval from Lopez’s family.

Ventura said she approves of the manslaughter charge, even though she’s reluctant to see the lesser penalty.

“Being that he’s my brother, of course I’d like to see more time, but three years is not enough for a life,” she said. “Eduardo Capote … he’s responsible for my brother being dead.”

Ventura said a civil case is also “in the works,” though she did not want to elaborate.

Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae said the department also was involved in the discussions and had talked to Ventura, but he did not want to comment more until the deal was finalized.

Eduardo Capote is scheduled to appear in court at 2:30 p.m. April 16 to enter his plea, and sentencing likely will be scheduled for a later date.

Comments

14th_to_OAR 4 years ago

Good job, and I think a very fair result given what I understand about the facts of the case and the jury split at trial.

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Doug Marsh 4 years ago

I'm not sure I would agree. If it were my brother or sister lying dead in the street from another person's punch, I think I would like to handle it the old fashion way. And no, he wouldn't be going to jail for three years.

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14th_to_OAR 4 years ago

Chicago, of course. But the death in this case was somewhat of a fluke, and there was certainly no intent to kill. I'm also taking into account the hung jury that I hear favored the defense. Knowing DA Elizabeth Oldham, I was expecting a misdemenaor deal with a lot less time. And I'm one of her biggest detractors, as you can read here. http://wp.me/pzqev-d2

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Scott Wedel 4 years ago

Chicago, If you did your plan then you would be facing premeditated murder one without much of a defense.

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freerider 4 years ago

A wise man once asked the question ...do you know what happens when you go looking for trouble ??? answer : you will find it

This guy is a trouble maker and I'd say he is getting off easy. Picking a fight in a bar over a song and a guy dies is just pathetic

Three year sentence = 18 months or less

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justice4all 4 years ago

What happened here? If atty Feldman is so sure of winning, why would he offer or accept a plea of 3 years of his clients life? Actually, I feel that Feldman got all the $$$$$$ that the Capote family had, a lien on their homes for the upaid balance and probably their first born and then, since he could not fatten his pockets any more, decided to sell his client to the system. All evidence that has been relayed to the public shows that Capote should have been charged with a much more serious crime. It is evident that the public and the victim have both been cheated by both sides!--- The guilty will walk shortly ----AND OUR SOLDIER IS STILL DEAD!!! This is another reason that I say we have no justice in the 14th Judicial District and I still say what we need is "justice4all"!

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Doug Marsh 4 years ago

I understand that life is not fair always and the justice system works sometimes, but if you take out part of my family, I'm willing to sacrifice my life for true justice.

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14th_to_OAR 4 years ago

Justice 4 All - You probably got that one right. And one shouldn't underestimate the "unofficial" extrajudicial penalty of having to endure a trial and pay for it.

I think three years in Colorado means three years. If I'm correct in assumng Capote is out on bail, he'll do three. Plus, I think the victim's family preferred the manslaughter charge to assault because it reflects that a death occurred. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Moving along, can any of you locals please tell me how Elizabeth Oldham managed to get elected DA? Was her sordid history simply not reported in the local mainstream media? Didn't you guys realize she was pretty inexperienced to head a DA's office, especially in a vast jurisdiciton like yours?

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freerider 4 years ago

OAR ....three years in Colorado means half or less

We are all wondering about Elizabeth Oldham

I know at least 10 guys plus the Sweet Pea guys that have been completly abused by the D.A. on domestic abuse charges from drunken girlfriend's or evil ex's

Same thing Charlie Sheen is going through over in Aspen

The ex or girlfriend wife or whatever will ask the D.A. to drop the charges because it was really her fault or just as much to blame but they won't drop the charges

It's completly gender bias and the guys at the jail will tell you that 99 out of 100 domestic's in Routt county are all men ....

I'm willing to bet that they don't drop the Charlie Sheen case either She blows a 2.0 and he blows .04 and Charlie goes down Now she wants the case dropped , bet they don't

Let's see what kind of deal they give Debbie Eck for growing pot Probably more time than this Capote guy is gonna get for killing someone

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14th_to_OAR 4 years ago

freerider, maybe you've seen my blog. I'd like to help. Please email me at victoria.laura39@gmail.com or call me at 303-416-2206. You have the same problem in the 14th that we in Summit have in the 5th with one of her other male mentors, Mark Hurlbert..

Blog is www.abusivediscretion.wordpress.com, and Oldham story is topping the charts right now.

Best,

Laura

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Dopinion 4 years ago

justice4all and everyone else,

you should change your name because you obviously do not want "justice4all" you just want justice for self. It is extremely rude to suggest that the lawyer the Capote paid for is just looking to capitalize for his own gain. They wanted the best lawyer possible to correct the injustice and assumptions that have arisen against them throughout the case. Yes, a solider did die but to place the blame on a father with a one year old baby girl who went to Colorado for a vacation with his family is your own personal self-denial to deal with the fact that maybe, might be a difficult possibility for you to grasp, that it may not have been the persons fault that you seem to blame with such passion. Did anyone on this website go to to the trail??? I seriously doubt that the "friends", the Mottalaus brothers that Lopez was with that night, were more concerned about their friend getting hurt rather than their pride. I am extremely sorry for your lose in this situation. I'm a friend of the Capote family and I can speak for them when I say that his death was unintentional because I know they do not want Eduardo to go to jail for 3 years not being able to see his baby girl who is going to be running to the door expecting him to be standing there ready to hug and kiss her. Three military men who are extremely drunk versus two men and their wife and girlfriend who are on their last day of vacation... I am a friend of the capote family and i have been there from the begining this has changed their lives and everyone around them the last thing any of us ever wanted or to experience is for Eddie to go to jail for what ever time. he did not by no means cause the death of Richard Lopez or like you and other call him the SOLIDER

P.S. Freerider stop singing the same tone... haven't you been paying attention...THATS NOT WHAT HAPPENED

P.P.S If any one of us learned something from this is dont believe everything the media says and stop the hate have respect for both of these families the Capotes and the Lopez family

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dave reynolds 4 years ago

I wasn't there.nor did I attend the trail..but for someone to lose thier life over a song is unbieveable(espesially Jimmy Buffet)..two words walk away..for both parties just walk away

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mom4justice 4 years ago

Dopinion,

I hope to GOD that you read this. Once again, as the Richard Lopez's ex-wife and mother of his son, shame on you! How dare you say things like that just because you are friends of the Capotes! Just because you see them as "upstanding" citizens, were you there that night? How can you read the evidence from the independent witnesses, taxi cab driver, and cell phone video (that wasn't allowed in court, but everyone with an ounce of common sense knows was Eduardo Capote beating Richard) and still believe in your friends. I don't give a ##@ that "Eddie's" baby girl won't see her daddy for 1 1/2 years, "Richard Lopez's" son will NEVER see his father walk through a door again! And, once again, Richard Lopez was on vacation with his son when he was killed by "Eddie". They were leaving the next day too. He was not some out of control military man partying in CO while "Eddie" was just a family man. Richard was a family man on vacation with his son! Don't you think Richard being in the Special Forces that he would have had too much to lose by trying to fight "Eddie"? Richard was in the top 1% of the entire military....he was definitely not willing to lose everything on a stupid fight. Don't you dare EVER disgrace Richard or my son EVER again!

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kathy foos 4 years ago

mom4justice:Thank you for your input,I dont believe that the county jail is where he belongs,too nice,it should be prison.Who ever wrote this piece doesnt live here, they dont know the difference between death and jail,and prison.Yeah caputo would fit right in the prison with the way he handled this,our jail is nice(hot meals)go to Craig you get bologna sandwiches.Maybe when he gets out he will have a little respect for life and can explain to dopinion that he is sorry for killing your family member,and then he can go on with his life . your son will have to wait to the next life to see his father.,I want you to know that I am sorry to live in a community where this happened,I think the other brother should have had punishment also,any one that ran that night ,rather than making sure that Richard was getting help,they left him for dead.People here support you and I hope that you and your son have a happy life as possible,Some people make excuses for everything,your husband needed no excuses he had his own worth speaking for him and his family.Im sure people will be honoring him forever and the Caputo family has to live with the fact they all tried to cover it up,and only one is going down for it.(barely)

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kathy foos 4 years ago

Oh yeh,one more thought to the bartenders and tavern owners,Maybe people are being over served in general downtown, according to the number of fights listed in the blotter all of the time.Too much booze usually causes that behavior,it is yor responsibility to control the degree of that ,Im not sitting back and letting the bartenter ride.Did you have any idea this situation was brewing and did you do enough to make sure no one got hurt?Oh yes I forgot,just like the old west, take it outside boys,then look the other way,some one else needs a drink.This is an example of what can go wrong and how far it reaches!

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seeuski 4 years ago

While I agree and echo your kind words to mom4justice I would stop short of blaming the Bar employees for the future aggressions of a criminal to be, as I have been told the two groups were escorted out different exits, Capote would have had to pursue the Lopez party as it seems happened here. Sometimes there seems to be those who feel macho in slapping down a US Soldier so I am curious as to whether Lopez was in uniform that night. If, as Lopez's ex wife indicates, there is evidence that was suppressed showing the assault or other evidence was justice really served? God bless Richard Lopez for being an American Patriot.

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mom4justice 4 years ago

sun and seeuski, Thank you for your comments and kind words. seeuski, no Richard was not wearing his uniform that night. And YES there was evidence that wasn't allowed due to technicalities in our wonderful justice system. I invite everyone to view the Arrest Warrant. The link is provided below, but anyone can do a Google search and type in Eduardo Capote Arrest Warrant and it will come up in the first page or two. Please open this link and look to the bottom left of the article and download the pdf of the Arrest Warrant. http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/20...

Once viewing the arrest warrant, read it all, but be sure to pay special attention to Section 16-bruising on Richard's body consistent with being punched and kicked while lying on the ground, Section 25- independent witness testimony about the fight, Section 26- cell phone video with audio of someone yelling "boom boom" each time a punch is landed and then yells "don't FU@* with Miami" (where the Capotes are from) Section 28-another independent witness testimony, Section 37- girlfriend of David Capote changing her story and admitting she lied, and then later in the Warrant the wife recants too.

Oh, and by the way, this all started because Richard and the Mottlaus were playing a JIMMY BUFFET song and the Capotes gave them a hard time. Then the Capotes played a KANYE WEST song in response to the Jimmy Buffet song

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seeuski 4 years ago

mom4justice, Many of us out here are with you and if pictures could tell a thousand words, I know this means little in justice, then the comparison between Richards and the Capote's photos says a lot to me. I just read the arrest warrant and the incident is much clearer now. Manslaughter among other things occurred that night. Interesting how much the Capote witnesses all synchronized their lies and how their actions inside and outside the bar were that of bully punks. The interesting thing also is that the Capote group stood on the corner of Lincoln and 7th without having called a cab, why? Were they waiting for someone to come out of the Tap House? And then for one of the Capote women to use the race card, consciousness of guilt to me.

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Dopinion 4 years ago

I meant no disrespect toward your family and I'm sorry if you felt disrepected. I was not at thetrial and I was not just going on by the testimonies given in court. Please try to understand that like you and your family both parties are suffering from a terrible accident. I was just tired of people accusing the capote family as being murderers when they had no intention to harm your husband. Again I am ery sorry for any disrepect your husband and your son. I just hope that people can understand that both parties were guilty and are now suffering. I will delete the comment I wrote earlier hopefully as a sign that I meant no disrepect.

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khern029 3 years, 12 months ago

Things aren't always as simple as one makes them to be.... especially when those that claim to have loved never loved and fight for something they fought against... lies can be hidden only for so long....the tale of two gardens will emerge....

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