Man sentenced to 144 years for 1997 attempted murder of teenager

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Ray Ojeda, 44, sentenced to 144 years in prison for the attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in 1997. (Photo: DPD)

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DENVER — A man convicted in a 1997 attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of a teenage girl has been sentenced to the maximum possible sentence as of Monday, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Ray Ojeda, 44, was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault in April this year. For those convictions, he was sentenced to 144 years of prison, 48 years on each count run consecutively.

The original crime happened on June 14, 1997 when a 15-year-old girl walking home near Federal Boulevard and Holden Place was kidnapped at gunpoint by Ojeda and taken to a secluded area near the South Platte River at 64th Avenue and York Street.

There, Ojeda sexually assaulted the victim, then shot her in the head and threw her in the river. The victim was able to walk a half-mile to Interstate 270 and flag down a passerby for help.

The case remained unsolved for 14 years until 2011, when Ojeda was convicted of a felony marijuana charge in Texas and his DNA was submitted to the FBI’s DNA database. His DNA came back as a match for that taken from the victim in the original sex assault examination, according to the Denver DA’s office.

This match led to the arrest and conviction of Ojeda and exonerated two other men who had been identified as possible suspects in the case.

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