DENVER (CBS4) – After months of delayed court hearings, the family of young woman shot and killed in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood will again have to wait for their day in court. Michael Close is accused of killing Isabella Thallas, and also shooting her boyfriend last summer.
“We try to take it one day at a time, we still get up, pour the cereal for the kids and handle our business, but having that closure is another piece to help heal the best we know how,” Joshua Thallas said.
Thallas lost his daughter, Isabella on June 10, 2020. She and her boyfriend Darian Simon were walking outside of an apartment complex when the suspect made a comment about the animal, and then opened fire.
Simon told police the shooter yelled at them about the dog before he opened fire with an AR-15. Simon was shot twice but survived.
The man accused in her murder, Michael Close, was taken into custody that day. Now months later, he was expected to enter a plea, but the hearing was continued.
“It resonates hard with the family. Swift justice is hard. We know there’s a gentleman being held, and we are ready. The anticipation and build up for it and then you get to that court date and it’s pushed back… it’s hard,” Thallas said.
Close, 36, is facing 22 counts, including first-degree murder, prohibited use of a large-capacity magazine, prohibited use of a weapon, and crime of violence. According to the Denver Police Department, Close, a friend of a Denver police officer, took the rifle from the officer’s home without the officer’s knowledge or permission. Upon learning his rifle was missing and that it may have been used in the homicide, the officer notified investigators that the rifle belonged to him. The rifle was not issued by the Denver Police Department.
COVID-19 restrictions mean their court dates are mostly virtual, only once has Isabella’s family been face-to-face with the accused.
Thallas says it’s given them less opportunity to find closure.
“It takes away all those expressions and that touch of what that feels like seeing someone face-to-face versus via a camera… it takes a lot away from that,” he said.
He says the family is hopeful that come March, the pandemic will subside, and they’ll once again have that day in court.
“Obviously when all of this is said and done, we believe justice will be served. We believe good human beings are good human beings, accountability is accountability and that closure piece for us is a step forward,” he said.
The family has been working with the city to find a space somewhere near the scene where they can build a dog park and sitting space in memory of Isabella. They are currently looking for a space and raising money in a GoFundMe campaign to get their plans underway.