Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 26, sentenced to 110 years in prison for a deadly I-70 crash that took the lives of four people, will receive a resentencing hearing on Jan. 13.
On Dec. 27, Judge A. Bruce Jones set the resentencing hearing date. Jones called on the defense and prosecution to file resentencing memos with the court by Jan. 10.
A written statement from King’s office said on Dec. 17 they initiated a process to set a hearing for the reconsideration of Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence. King’s office said this will not overturn the conviction supported by the evidence in this case; but allows the court greater flexibility than it had during the initial sentencing.
The case has drawn national interest and King’s office has undergone intense scrutiny in the wake of the 110-year sentence handed down by Judge A. Bruce Jones. Colorado law required consecutive mandatory minimum sentences be served for the convictions because several of the counts were considered “crimes of violence.”
At the initial sentencing, King’s office requested Aguilera-Mederos be given the mandatory minimum for his convictions. That request was granted, but still didn’t give Jones the legal authority to impose a lighter sentence.
King’s written statement said the impact of the accident on victims and their families was paramount.
“When my team and I spoke to the surviving victims and families of those who lost their lives about the possibility of resentencing, it was their specific desire to be heard in this process,” it said. “So, yesterday, we filed another motion requesting that the court expedite that hearing so they would have the opportunity to be heard by the presiding judge who best knows the facts of the case and the evidence presented at trial. We understand and appreciate the frustration of those seeking immediate consideration and ask for patience as we take the steps allowed by law before the judge who knows this case and the community that was impacted.”
King’s office filed a motion in District Court Dec. 21 requesting modification of the Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute 18-1.3-406, for an expedited hearing. According to King’s statement, her office requested the Court set a date for the hearing to take place no later than Dec. 27.
Meanwhile, Aguilera-Mederos’ case is becoming something of a cause célèbre, attracting attention from notable social media influencers and social justice groups. Kim Kardashian spread the word about the sentence to her 70 million Twitter followers and nearly 4.8 million people have signed a change.org petition requesting Governor Jared Polis to commute the sentence.
A rally to generate support for sentencing reform and call on Polis to reduce Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence was held in front of the state capitol, Dec. 22. Speakers at the event included Leonard Martinez, Aguilera-Mederos’ new attorney.
“Rogel is humbled and appreciative of the support he is receiving from the people not only in Colorado but nationwide,” Martinez said. “We want to thank the Governor for accepting the application for clemency and are hopeful that he will do the right thing and free Rogel. The entire legal team for Rogel will keep moving forward with any and all options to get Rogel home and back with his family, but it is support like today that is helping us open the doors for the dialogue to occur.”
State Representative Alex Valdez also spoke to the crowd of roughly 100 people.
“The Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus believes that the victims and their families deserve justice—but Mr. Aguilera-Mederos’s 110-year sentence is not justice,” Valdez said, on behalf of the Legislature’s Latino Caucus. “This tragic case reaffirms the need for a felony sentencing structure that is fair, consistent, and focused on rehabilitation, and we commit to continuing to work alongside the Polis administration to end racial disparities and ensure access to justice for all.”