Trial date set in Capote wrongful death civil case

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Eduardo Capote

— Eduardo Capote faces another trial date once he completes his three-year prison sentence related to the Jan. 1, 2009, fight in downtown Steamboat Springs that led to the death of Richard Lopez.

Nicholas Lopez, the son of Richard Lopez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in December against Capote.

On Thursday, 14th Judicial District Court Judge Shelley Hill held a telephone conference with those involved in the lawsuit, and they decided to start the trial July 9, 2012.

Damages are not specified in the lawsuit.

“We haven’t got to that point,” said Zach McFarland, a Golden-based lawyer representing the Lopez family. “It’s real early on in the litigation process.”

Eduardo Capote and his brother David were charged in connection with the fight with Richard Lopez and his two companions. The defense and prosecution provided differing accounts of what happened, but the result was that after a blow from Eduardo Capote, Lopez fell to the asphalt and hit his head. He died Jan. 5, 2009, with the cause of death ruled as severe head and brain trauma.

In February 2010, the Capote brothers were found not guilty of third-degree assault related to fighting with Lopez’s friends, but jurors could not decide on the more serious charge of second-degree assault filed against Eduardo Capote relating to the fight with Lopez.

Rather than facing another jury, Capote pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison.

The Lopez family was seeking civil damages as the criminal cases went through the legal system, but an agreement was never reached. At the time, McFarland researched Eduardo Capote’s homeowner’s insurance policy and thought it had $300,000 of coverage that could be used to pay for economic and noneconomic damages.

On Tuesday, McFarland said the insurance company denied the claim and refused to provide Capote with a lawyer in the civil matter. Public defenders are not appointed in civil cases.

McFarland said Capote has not obtained his own lawyer, so he is representing himself. Capote called in to Thursday’s hearing from the Rifle Correctional Center, where he is serving his sentence, McFarland said. The civil trial cannot take place until Capote is released.

According to the Colorado

Department of Corrections, Ca-

pote’s prison term runs through Nov. 28, 2012. He is eligible for parole at the end of this month.

Nicholas Lopez was 16 when his father died, and his father had intended to help him pay for college, McFarland said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

hereandthere 3 years, 7 months ago

And here is your drug problem, Mr. Rae and Mr. Wiggins. The 800 lb gorilla roaming the streets. Instead of wasting your and the citizens time by promoting the persecution of mmj patients, how about doing something that would really have a positive impact on our community. The policy of giving courtesy rides to inebriates encourages this dangerous behavior, and is unacceptable. You two are charged with promoting public safety, and I for one think you should take that responsibility seriously.

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seeuski 3 years, 7 months ago

Uh, the gorilla is in jail, not roaming the streets. You claiming that people who commit crimes don't use pot? You would do your cause better if you would relax and move along.

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hereandthere 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't believe I said anything of the sort See. You may want to re-read my post, then we could have a realistic discussion. But to give you a quick synopsis, what I said is that alcohol is a far bigger danger to our community then pot. I hope you don't think you can dispute that. The above article refers to a real life incident that resulted in a death. A death caused by the excessive drinking of alcohol. Obviously, I feel very strongly about public intoxication (whether alcohol or pot), and think that our top law enforcement officials should take a serious stand against this activity. I do not like to read in the police blotter that drunk pedestrians are given courtesy rides home. I want this behavior discouraged by using the laws on the books. Arrest and charge these individuals. Nothing more complicated then that. I do realize that I am rowing against the current, and I also know that our town will never take an aggressive stance against the problems caused by alcohol. Unfortunately, we are an alcoholic nation. But, I will not relax and move along. I can only imagine how many of our fellow bloggers have wished the same sentiments regarding you. Maybe a show of hands?

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seeuski 3 years, 7 months ago

How do you know that Capote was NOT smoking weed along with drinking? This Capote guy has aggression problems and is a murderer, are you saying that he would not be an ahole without alcohol? That is what is the problem with your assumptions, they are assumption and we do have a drug problem in this town and in many towns across this Country, pot, meth, acid, heroine, scripps, whatever, people are medicating themselves and have always done it. It just so happens that having a glass of wine or two or a couple of beers after work does not alter ones mind. Smoking a joint? That one is easy to answer. I am sure you and others in this town wish me gone, but I have a right to play too. mmj patients my rear end, the Police Chief and the Sheriff are NOT looking to bust out true mmj users, they are doing their job trying to curb the illegal drug trade that is so dangerous, like the bust of those two illegals who were longtime coke distributors around here. Vote for Ron Paul, he wants to legalize all illicit drugs, even heroine. Just great.

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