Life in prison sentence for murder of Commerce City jewelry store owner

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — A man was convicted murdering a Commerce City jewelry store owner was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

Anton Valdez, 23, was found guilty Wednesday in the death of Bernardo Saenz, who owned the La Joyeria jewelry store at 5908 E. 64th Ave. in Commerce City, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Adams County District Judge Thomas Ensor sentenced Valdez to life in prison without parole for first-degree murder after deliberation.

The judge imposed an additional 32-year sentence for aggravated robbery which will be served consecutive to the life sentence. He also imposed a 16-year sentence for conspiracy to be served concurrently.

“This was a crime motivated by greed and callous depravity,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Patrick Costigan told the court. “Anton Valdez walked into a business owned by a respected member of the community , a family man and father of three young daughters, and gunned him down, all to steal some trinkets -- some gold bracelets. The defendant killed this man for nothing in the most brutal and callous way.”

Saenz was shot to death on May 17, 2012 during the robbery of his store.

Evident presented during the trail, which began Monday, said that Saenz was shot four times at close range when he emerged from a back room after hearing breaking glass.

Valdez was convicted on charges of first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree felony murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.

“This was a tragic case,” said District Attorney Dave Young. “Bernardo Saenz was a father, son, brother and respected member of the community, and he was needlessly killed. We are thankful for the jury’s verdict that brings justice to the loss of this man.”

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3 comments

  • Jeff Bender

    I am curious that he didn’t recieve charges of illegal fire arms? Another person who obtains a weapon legally and innocent persons suffer due to our inability to do solid background checks. As a gun owner, I will not wine the next time I have to wait a month or two to recieve a weapon if it means the PROPER background checks are saving lives. Wake up Colorado, the process needs to change.

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