By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – Friends of the victim of a fatal stabbing in LoDo say they are relieved someone is behind bars, but they think the story investigators have told simply can’t be true.
Marlon Casanova was stabbed 14 times around 1:30 a.m. on Monday in LoDo.
A probable cause statement says the suspect, Raoul Solis Lanius, 53, and his companion had an argument with the victim over who could sleep on a stoop in front of a bicycle shop near the intersection of 15th Street and Wynkoop Street.
Friends say Casanova is not homeless and is an accomplished chef.
“He had two jobs. He worked seven days a week. One of the harder working guys I’ve ever worked with and I’ve been doing this for 13 years,” said Austin Hornsby, a friend of Casanova and fellow chef. “All around just a loving dude.”
Lanius is charged with second-degree murder, but told police he stabbed the victim after an argument escalated into a racial slur. The story was echoed by Lanius’s female companion.
“When I say false, I mean 100 percent false. It blows my mind because his family is in Texas, the police aren’t telling them much, the only thing they have to go off of was what was being published. If that makes me upset, his mom and father and siblings, and they’re having to see that? It’s terrible,” Hornsby said.
Friends and coworkers think Lanius mugged Casanova before killing him. Many other restaurant staff say they’ve had altercations downtown late at night and have been robbed or assaulted.
“It’s a tragedy, it really is. We wanted to get the story correct that a hard working citizen of Denver died,” Hornsby said. “Marlon Casanova he was a great guy, that’s the only way to spin it. He was loved by a lot of people.”
Denver police say any additional information on the case will come out in court records. The District Attorney’s office told CBS4 no new charges have been filed in the case.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.