DENVER (KDVR) — The man accused of shooting and killing a young woman while she was walking her dog with her boyfriend was found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder Thursday afternoon.
Michael Close, 36, shot 21-year-old Isabella Thallas and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Darian Simon, outside an apartment complex in the Ballpark neighborhood in June 2020. Thallas died at the scene, and Simon was shot twice but survived.
The judge hearing the case has excused a juror and replaced that person with an alternate juror.
According to FOX31’s Kristin Chapman, worries were expressed Thursday morning about the jury panel being “tainted.”
The judge spoke with the alternate and made the change which means deliberations will be started all over again in the case. But a verdict was decided in under three hours.
FOX31 spoke to Thallas’s parents after the verdicts were read.
“I’m numb. Lifeless. We’ve been waiting almost two and a half years for this day and what happened in there went by in a matter of … almost as fast as my daughter was slaughtered. Our lives have been changed forever,” Thallas’s mother Ana said.
“(I’m) Super indifferent. There is no justice served. This is not a victory of who won. There are so many losses all the way around the horn. Our family obviously lost even Michael Close’s family lost,” Thallas’s father Joshua said.
Simon and Thallas were walking their dog around 11:40 a.m. on June 10 when Close opened his window and allegedly yelled, “Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?”
A verbal altercation took place after Simon’s dog pooped in a rock garden outside Close’s apartment complex at 3001 Fox St. which led to the shooting.
The gun Close used in the deadly shooting belonged to a Denver Police officer. The Denver Police Department released a statement that said, “Close, a friend of a Denver Police officer, took the rifle from the officer’s home without the officer’s knowledge or permission. Upon learning his rifle was missing and that it may have been used in this homicide, the officer notified investigators that the rifle belonged to him. The rifle was not issued to the officer by the Denver Police Department.”
During the investigation, police recovered an assault-style weapon, a Glock 17 and a shotgun, along with a large amount of ammunition and high-capacity magazines that can hold more than 15 bullets, which are not legal in Colorado unless they’re grandfathered in.
Close fled but police located him in Pine Junction where he was arrested.
There were many tears in the courtroom as the verdicts were being read.
The defendant also wept and wiped tears from his face only as one guilty verdict was read after another.
He was then handcuffed and taken back to jail.
Close’s sentencing is scheduled for November.