Man convicted in murder of Elbert County rancher

KIOWA, Colo. — A Colorado jury has convicted a 28-year-old man in the shooting death of an Elbert County rancher in 2016.

Joe R. Love was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree felony murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and burglary.

Prosecutors say the crime happened in January 2016 when Love was passing through Elbert County and ended up on a ranch that Edward Butler was keeping an eye on for the owners.

Prosecutors say when Love was encountered by the 68-year-old Butler, Love shot the rancher twice in the head.

After being connected to the crime by DNA and fingerprint evidence, Love was arrested in 2017 at Ft. Bliss, Texas, where Love was a private with the U.S. Army.

Love will be sentenced on June 18.

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