Convicted killer sentenced to prison for 2016 Thanksgiving murder at Aurora motel

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A convicted killer has been sentenced to prison for a 2016 Thanksgiving murder at an Aurora motel, the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Francisco Talamantes, 30, was sentenced to life in prison plus 126 years last month for the death of Eduardo Hernandez-Zuniga, who was 45 when he was shot to death.

Talamantes was found guilty of first-degree felony murder on Jan. 15 that brought with it a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

He was also found guilty of first-degree burglary (48-year sentence), aggravated motor vehicle theft (48-year sentence), second-degree arson (24-year sentence) and tampering with evidence (six-year sentence).

Because Talamantes was found to be a habitual criminal, all of the counts will be served consecutively.

“There is only one place for a lawless person who leaves death and destruction in his wake: Prison, and a lifetime of it,” District Attorney George Brauchler said in a statement.

“Prison can protect us from further evil, but it cannot bring back what has been taken. The innocent victim had his life ended because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We must continue to endeavor to be a better people.”

On Nov. 24, 2016, prosecutors said Talamantes went to the Travelodge Motel on East Sixth Avenue near Interstate 225 looking to kill a man he said had “snitched.”

Luis “Malo” Zamora-Ornelas, 20, and David Alberto “Pato” Garcia, 30, were with him.

When Hernandez-Zuniga left his motel room to get a drink from a vending machine, Talamantes, Garcia and Zamora-Orneleas went inside with guns looking for the “snitch.”

Prosecutors said that man was never in the room.

When he returned, Hernandez-Zuniga got into an argument with the three men and within seconds, he was shot.

Hernandez-Zuniga was taken to University of Colorado Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Talamantes was found the next day in a stolen Hyundai Sonata in Denver.

Officers with the Denver Police Department pursued the Hyundai when Talamantes set the vehicle on fire near West Cedar Avenue and South Tejon Street.

He then got into a stolen Ford Edge and led police on a high-speed, off-road chase through parts of the High Line Canal bike path.

Talamantes was taken into custody after attempting to flee on foot at East Eighth Avenue and Canosa Street.

Zamora-Ornelas was found shot to death on the front porch at a residence in the 4300 block of Fillmore Street in Denver shortly after the motel shooting, prosecutors said.

Garcia was arrested in Denver in December 2016 after becoming agitated at a driver stopped a stop sign.

Prosecutors said he shot and killed Miguel Baray in a road rage incident. Garcia pleaded guilty late last year to second-degree murder in the case.

In March 2018, Garcia was convicted of felony murder in Hernandez-Zuniga’s death and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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