DENVER — A man accused in a brutal attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual assault cold case from 1997 was solved by a Denver jury on Tuesday.
Nearly 18 years ago, on June 14, 1997, a 15-year-old girl was walking home near Federal Blvd. and Holden Place when a man kidnapped her, held her at gun point and took her to a secluded area near the South Platte River, a news release from the Denver District Attorney’s Office stated.
The man sexually assaulted her, shot her in the head, then threw her in the river near 64th Ave. and York St.
Miraculously, she was able to walk a half-mile to I-270 and get the attention of a passerby for help.
The case remained unsolved for that time.
Then in 2011, a man named Ray Ojeda was convicted of a felony marijuana charge in Texas. As a result of this charge, his DNA was submitted to the CODIS database.
Later, Ojeda’s DNA came back as a match to the DNA taken from the victim in the 1997 sexual assault examination.
In April 2015, nearly two decades later, the sexual assault cold case was solved. Ray Ojeda, 43, was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault.
Denver District Attorney’s Office also stated, that the DNA match not only led to the arrest and conviction of Ojeda, but it also exonerated two men who had previously been identified as possible suspects in the case.
Ray Ojeda could face up to 144 years in prison, according to the release. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
This conviction is the result of work by Denver’s Cold Case Project and prosecutors Chief Deputy DA Dawn Weber and Deputy DA Kelly Waidler.