Jury still deliberating in Orlando Sanchez attempted murder case
A reputed member of the Latin Kings street gang elected not to testify in his attempted murder trial, but prosecutors are hoping an untaped confession he made to detectives inside a Florida interrogation room is enough to convince a jury, which began deliberations Wednesday, to reach a guilty verdict.
Juan Colon, 46, was arrested in 2012 by U.S Marshals in Florida where he fled after he learned he was a person of interest in the murder of 28-year-old Orlando Sanchez.
Colon is not on trial for Sanchez’s murder, which remains unsolved, but rather an attempt he allegedly made on Sanchez’s life Aug. 25, 2012 during a senseless dispute at Sanchez’s Elm Street home.
That’s when, witnesses testified, Colon fired a single shot at Sanchez while he fled up the stairs. Colon became enraged because his sleeping girlfriend refused to come downstairs.
Sanchez was gunned down in September 2012, two weeks after the August shooting, and Colon was named a person of interest. No one has been arrested, and an investigation is still active and ongoing, officials said.
During the course of the investigation into Sanchez’s murder, Assistant Prosecutor James Scott said, authorities learned about the shooting, which Colon’s attorney said was not reported to police.
Authorities eventually tracked Colon to Florida, arrested him and attempted to interview him.
Two detectives testified Colon refused to speak with investigators after he was read his Miranda rights, so they switched off a tape recorder. As soon as they did, Colon went on a diatribe and admitted firing a single shot at Sanchez from a medium-caliber handgun. Investigators recovered a single round lodged in a second-story rafter of the residence, but the gun was not recovered, Scott said.
“I almost shot the braid off of his head,” Colon allegedly told investigators. Colon’s attorney, Keith Massey, said the remark was not captured on film or by any recording device and that his client vigorously denies all charges.
A 12-member jury, pondering charges of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault and weapons offenses, heard from five witnesses and listed to attorneys’ summations before they began deliberations around 2 p.m., returning about 90 minutes later with a question for Judge Pedro Jimenez.
They wanted to know whether they must reach a unanimous decision on the attempted murder charges before they could decide the alleged aggravated assault of Sanchez. Jimenez instructed jurors they must agree one way or another on the attempted murder charge before weighing Colon’s guilt or innocence on aggravated assault counts.
Colon’s mother sat outside a courtroom anxiously awaiting a verdict, but it didn’t come. The jury is set to resume deliberations Thursday.
Sitting next to his attorney wearing a dark-colored suit and glasses perched on his eyes, Colon appeared subdued, which conflicted with the portrait the state painted of him as an irrational man with gang ties who could fly off the cuff for the smallest of slights, real or perceived.
That, Scott said, is what happened the night of the shooting, when Colon allegedly directed his anger at Sanchez.
Colon’s girlfriend was with a female friend at Sanchez’s home. They spent the night assembling a bed and fell asleep. Colon’s girlfriend’s phone was on silent and she didn’t notice repeated missed calls from Colon.
Colon showed up at Sanchez’s house and demanded the woman come downstairs, lashing out and kicking the door down when she didn’t appear fast enough, prosecutors said.
Colon has myriad convictions for assault, robbery and drug offenses, prosecutors said. Scott said he was released from state prison in April 2012 after serving time for robbery, roughly six month before the shooting.