By Logan Smith

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) — A New Mexico man was convicted earlier this month of murdering a Denver acquaintance he grew up with in Mexico and lived with at one time in the metro area.

Mauricio Anchondo-Olivas, 29, was sentenced immediately after the guilty verdict was reached. He received life imprisonment without the possibility for parole.

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This on April 9, almost a year to the day following the death of 43-year-old Javier Zamudio-Anaya on April 12, 2020.

Zamudio’s body was found inside a red Dodge pickup near the intersection of 120th Avenue and Tejon Street. A man who called 9-1-1 dispatchers approached the truck when he realized the truck and the person inside had not moved in eight hours. He recognized blood stains inside the cab.

Westminster police officers responded and found Javier in “in an obvious state of death.” He had been shot in the head and abdomen, and his throat was partially slit.

Security cameras at a nearby bank showed a man pulling up to the curb in the Dodge at 8:34 a.m., exiting the driver’s side, walking to dumpster to discard items, and then getting into the passenger side of a white pickup truck that drove to him.

That man was determined, by witness statements gathered by Westminster investigators, to be Anchondo-Olivas.

 

Mauricio Eduardo Anchondo-Olivas (credit: 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

Zamudio’s adult son filed a missing person’s report that same morning, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by CBS4.

That day was Easter Sunday.

Zamudio’s son told investigators his father was at a party the night before in the 2300 block of West 90th Avenue. The son left the party before midnight and his father never returned home.

Police investigators found partygoers who stayed later and provided details. Several stated, per the affidavit, that the old Zamudio and Anchondo-Olivas left the party together in the early morning of the 12th. One man said the pair left around sunrise.

Some partygoers told investigators that Anchondo supplied drugs to everyone earlier at the party, and that Zamudio and Anchondo were leaving to get more.

In the missing person’s report, Zamudio’s son told investigators he “believed his father was in danger because Mauricio Anchondo was involved in drugs and was known to place guns to people’s heads,” investigators stated in the affidavit.

Zamudio and Anchondo spent childhood time in the same town in Mexico, according to prosecutors. The two were also roommates at one time in Denver.

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But Zamudio’s son, in his missing person’s report, said the two men had problems in the past.

 

One of the other men at the West 90th Avenue party led police to the white truck that picked up Anchondo later that morning. The driver of that white truck, tight-lipped at first about subsequent conversation between he and Anchondo, soon relayed to investigators that Anchondo was limited in his discussion and only mentioned having a fight with someone at the party.

Even later, despite fearing for his family’s safety, the driver of the white truck admitted to police that he and Anchondo spoke about the murder, according to the affidavit. The driver diverted from earlier statements and said Anchondo was indeed armed with a handgun that day and smelled of blood.

The driver told Anchondo what he did was “messed up,” according to the affidavit. Anchondo only replied, “it’s already done.”

Police found Anchondo’s fingerprints on the interior of the red Dodge pickup. The Dodge had been reported stolen out of Albuquerque on April 11.

The arrest affidavit was signed April 20. Anchondo was detained four days later, according to online court records.

The Adams County Coroner’s Office ultimately concluded the head wound was the cause of death, investigators stated.

Per the police document, Zamudio’s son was told by other family members that his father owed money to a drug dealer in Mexico which was never repaid. Zamudio’s son believed Anchondo’s presence in Denver that day was related to that debt.

The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office press release announcing the conviction stated that Zamudio’s son, now 19, expressed the impact of his father’s death in court during Anchondo’s sentencing.

 

The case was one of the first in-person trials held in the Adams County courthouse in several months due to restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Adams County courts first closed March17, 2020. They were re-opened in September only to close again in November as the number of positive cases began to rise locally and around the state.

 

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Logan Smith