DENVER (CBS4) – Travis Forbes, the man accused of killing an Aurora teenager who disappeared in March after leaving a Denver nightclub pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Monday.
Police charged Forbes, 31, in the death of 19-year-old Kenia Monge after her body was found near Interstate 76 and Keenesburg in Weld County. He was sentenced immediately to life in prison. In exchange prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
Monge had disappeared March 31 from the 24K Lounge in LoDo. She had left her purse and cellphone. Forbes later admitted to police he gave Monge a ride to a gas station a couple miles away. He told police Monge left the gas station with another man.
Monge’s parents, Maria and Tony Lee, were in the courtroom in Denver to hear their daughter’s killer say he was guilty. Forbes told the court he killed the 19-year-old but didn’t say why he did it.
“What happened to Kenia was a horrific, horrific crime. I will never have words to express my apology. I was horrible. I was cowardly. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t plan it. I took a life. I’m so sorry,” Forbes said in court.
“He took everything from me. I have to let it go and keep praying and asking God to give me strength,” Maria Lee said.
“He doesn’t have that control over us anymore. It’s always been on his schedule, on his time, on his whim. And now he doesn’t have that control over us anymore,” Tony Lee said. “Being a Christian you’re supposed to exercise forgiveness, and I think that’s something I’ll reach down the road, not today.”
Forbes is also scheduled to appear in court in Fort Collins on Tuesday. He faces charges in a case that include attempted first-degree murder, sexual assault and arson. Investigators say he attacked Lydia Tillman and at some point afterwards set fire to the second story apartment. Forbes is also expected to plead guilty in that case and is likely to be sentenced to 48 years to be served consecutively. He will also avoid the death penalty in the Fort Collins case.
“For the people that knew me, I have to say, remember me please. Remember me as I was, not the monster I became. I’m sorry,” Forbes said.
Forbes’ parents were also in court on Monday to watch their son get sentenced to life in prison.
“I would like to talk to the community and thank them for the support they gave both of these families, and I hope they continue giving that support,” Forbes’ father said.
Forbes’s parents also met Monge’s parents before the hearing.
“We did meet. We did shake hands. They for some reason did something I thought was very strange and they apologized for his actions, and I told them you can’t do that. That’s not necessary. You don’t need to apologize for the actions of your son. I have no animosity or ill will towards the Forbes family — none whatsoever,” Tony Lee said.