Hearing continued in manslaughter case

Posted 5/26/09

The May 19 preliminary hearing for Leonard Ross, who was accused of reckless manslaughter in the death of Timothy Sanchez, was continued to June 8 to …

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Hearing continued in manslaughter case


The May 19 preliminary hearing for Leonard Ross, who was accused of reckless manslaughter in the death of Timothy Sanchez, was continued to June 8 to give the defense attorney time to review the official autopsy report.

Ross, 41, who lived at 3545 S. Bannock St., was arrested March 2 as a suspect in the the death of Sanchez. Sanchez, who was taken to the hospital from 3544 S. Bannock St. March 1, died the next day. Ross was arrested because police suspect Sanchez died from head injuries apparently inflicted by the defendant.

More than a dozen members of the victim’s family gathered behind the defense table at the Arapahoe County jail. Several family members wore T-shirts bearing Sanchez’s picture.

When the court completed its other business, public defender Johanna DeLizza talked briefly with Ross as they sat at the defense table waiting for 18th Judicial District Judge Ethan Feldman to call their case. Across the room, prosecutor Dave Jones talked quietly with lead investigator and Englewood Police Detective Curtis Leoni.

Leoni was the first witness called to testify, stating that Sanchez visited Ross in the apartment at 3545 S. Bannock St., where there was an argument and then a physical altercation at about 11 p.m. March 1.

Reports show that a little later police and paramedics were called to the area and found Sanchez sitting on the porch of his mother’s house at 3544 S. Bannock St. He was bleeding from head wounds. Reportedly the victim walked down the steps, got on the gurney and was taken to Swedish Medical Center.

Sanchez died the next afternoon from head injuries that produced fatal bleeding in his brain.

Leoni said witnesses told him Ross got angry when Sanchez made what he considered disrespectful remarks to the daughter of his common-law wife. Sanchez apologized but reportedly made additional offensive remarks later and Ross asked him to leave and escorted him out of the apartment.

The court viewed a DVD of the video tape of Leoni’s interview with Ross. In the interview, Ross said when he and Sanchez got to the back steps, the victim swung at him. Ross said he then hit Sanchez in the head and face area two or three times.

The prosecutor then asked Leoni about the facts in the autopsy report. At that point, defense attorney DeLizza objected.

She told the judge she didn’t have a copy of the autopsy report, which according to judicial discovery rules, was supposed to be provided to her office. She added that, due to the technical information in the report, she would need time to review before she could adequately cross-examine Leoni and asked for a continuance.

The prosecution objected to a continuance. After listening to both sides of the issue, the judge ruled in favor of the defense and ordered the preliminary hearing to continue at 1:15 p.m. June 8 in Division 405 at the Arapahoe County Justice Center.


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