CENTENNIAL, Colo (CBS4) — It was Thanksgiving Day 2020.
Samuel Birch said “thank you” to a gas station clerk after robbing the business.
And pulled the trigger anyhow.
It was Birch’s second robbery of the day.
The clerk, 24-year-old Mauricio Omar Perez, died at the hospital while in surgery.
Birch was found guilty by an Arapahoe County jury March 10 of all charges, murder and robbery the primary counts.
Birch, 32, faces life in prison for the murder convictions alone. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 22.
Prosecutors used surveillance video which recorded Birch entering the the Circle K convenience store at 8263 South Quebec Street. He was wearing a mask and hooded sweatshirt. Birch approached the counter and asked for a carton of cigarettes.
As Perez rang up the order, Birch, as prosecutors described, calmly pointed a long-barreled revolver through the plexiglass divider and began demanding everything in the cash register.
“I need everything in the register too, though. Dude, it’s going to be you, your stomach or the money,” Birch told Perez, according to a press release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “Put everything in the bag. All of it, all of it right now. I can shoot you when I leave or I can shoot you now.”
Perez handed over $226.96 and 10 packs of cigarettes in a plastic bag. Birch thanked him and shot Perez in the abdomen.
“This was an entirely senseless act of inhumanity,” District Attorney John Kellner stated. “This defendant needlessly ended the life of an innocent man, who had done nothing but comply with his demands.”
Investigators connected Birch to another robbery two hours earlier at the Conoco gas station at East Arapahoe Road and South Galena Street. In that robbery, Birch allegedly fired a shot into the ceiling after taking money from the store’s register.