By Jennifer McRae

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– What began as a casual game of soccer in a park devolved into a murderous foot chase in Lakewood more than two years ago. Two men lost their lives that day.

Last week, Vicente Orozco was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the two murders. Orozco, 22, was found guilty in the stabbing deaths of both Stevan Sandvick, 61, and Ivan Rivera, 19, on Aug. 15, 2019.

Vicente Orozco (credit: Jefferson County)

Prosecutors say they still don’t why Orozco killed the two men.

According to the case’s arrest affidavit, Rivera and a friend were playing soccer in Belmar Park in Lakewood that day. Orozco joined them and the three enjoyed a “casual conversation.” During the conversation, Orozco kicked the soccer ball past the friend. The friend ran behind some trees and into a parking lot to retrieve ball.

The friend later told investigators he didn’t believe at the time that the errant kick was intentional.

However, according to the affidavit, the friend then saw Orozco chasing Rivera into through park as he returned with the ball. The friend ran toward the pair and Orozco turned his attention to the friend and began to chase him. The friend ran through a parking lot and up a set of stairs attached to the park’s Heritage Center. By the time the friend reached the top of the stairs, Orozco has stopped chasing after him, the affidavit states.

The friend eventually returned to the park and found Rivera bleeding and losing consciousness.

Rivera died days later as a result of his injuries.

Later that same morning, a witness walking through the park near the Fallen Firefighters Memorial discovered the body of Sandvick with multiple stab wounds.

Orozco was arrested a few days after police received a tip about the stabbings.

(credit: Lakewood Police)

The victims’ families addressed the court during the sentencing hearing and expressed how much pain and loss they suffered as a result of the murders. According to the district attorney’s office, Rivera was described as a “beautiful kid” with a bright future ahead of him, and Sandvick was described as a father and husband that will be missed very much.

“Today we see justice for the tragedy that took two innocent, random victims from the years ahead of them, their community, and their families,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Adam Hepp. “We are grateful for the courageous and thorough efforts of law enforcement, and we thank Ivan and Stevan’s families for their patience, their strength, and their undaunted courage throughout this process.”

Orozco was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in addition to 15 years for the aggravated robbery of Sandvick on May 6.

The District Attorney’s Office stated in a press release that the the surviving friend of Rivera was critical in providing information to law enforcement and testimony during Orozco’s trial.

 

Jennifer McRae