Three key witnesses took the stand Wednesday afternoon in the murder trial of James Ashby, the former Rocky Ford police officer accused of the unlawful killing of Jack Jacquez, Jr. in October 2014.
Kyle Moore, a civilian ride-along who was in the vehicle with Ashby at the point of initial contact with Jacquez; Mariah Talmich, the girlfriend of Jacquez and witness to the shooting; and Viola Jacquez, the mother of Jack Jacquez and witness to the shooting, were all questioned by attorneys, albeit each with a different account pertaining to the events leading up to, and following, the incident.
Moore, now a patrol officer with the Rocky Ford Police Department, was the first to give a detailed account of the events on Oct. 12, 2014. Moore, then a civilian, said he began the evening, Oct. 11, by riding with his brother, Officer Tim Moore, before switching to Ashby's vehicle at approximately 12 a.m., Oct. 12.
According to Moore, the night was relatively slow prior to the point where he and Ashby "encountered a man skateboarding in the road just to the center of the right lane headed to the west."
"Ashby pulls along side him," recalled Moore, "and the man got off of his skateboard. Officer Ashby said something to him like, 'What are you doing?' I remember him (Jacquez) saying something about 'home', or 'going home.'"
When asked about Jacquez's demeanor, Moore said he appeared "irritated. Annoyed that he (Ashby) was trying to talk to him."
Moore then recalled, "The car came to a stop at an angle facing northwest. The man then started to walk away at an angle towards the back of an opening in hedges. Officer Ashby got out of the car and went towards the back of the car and said, 'Hey, come talk to me.'"
At that point, Moore recalls Ashby following Jacquez through the hedges where he says he lost sight of the two men but could hear them talking.
"I heard a loud, rapid banging on a door," said Moore. "Then I heard Officer Ashby say, 'Show me your hands!' twice. I heard more knocking and then it all stopped for about 15-30 seconds. I heard Officer Ashby yell 'Drop the bat!' twice and then heard two gunshots."
From that point, Moore recalled hearing Ashby through the radio of the patrol car say, "Shots fired."
Moore says Ashby returned to the vehicle to get a medical bag and ask for his assistance in getting medical equipment from the trunk of the vehicle. Moore stated that a second officer arrived shortly after and that he returned to the patrol car and didn't speak to anyone.
When asked about any conversations he had with anyone involved in the incident or investigation, other than authorized interviews conducted with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Moore stated that he had received a text message from Ashby. "He told me he was sorry I had to go through that, he told me to tell the truth and to tell everything that I remember," Moore said.
Prosecuters pointed out the unlawfulness of Ashby's actions by sending a message, however, when asked if the message had been preserved, Moore responded "No."
During cross examination, defense attorney Carrie Slinkard asked Moore the same question previously asked of other law enforcement, saying, "As a police officer, do you believe that Officer Ashby was justified by pulling up next to Mr. Jacquez?" to which Moore responded "Yes. He wanted him to get out of the road."
Asked whether he heard Jack's statements clearly about "home" or anything else he may have said, a question stemming from video evidence of a walkthrough with Ashby of the events where he claimed Jacquez told him "F*** you!," Moore said "No."
Asked, "Was Mr. Ashby agressive when he approached Mr. Jacquez?" and "Was Mr. Ashby amped up?" Moore again said, "No."
Finally asked if there was any doubt that Ashby appeared to be a police officer, Moore said "No. He was in a fully marked police car and in uniform."
Talmich, who was pregnant at the time of the shooting with Jacquez's child, recalled the event inside the home.
She said she had spoken with Jacquez at the home of his friend Julian Lucero's sister, Darlene Lucero, where Jacquez said he was babysitting young children and would be home after he got a haricut from Julian.
Talmich said she returned to the residence at 300 N. Fourth St. and went to bed in the room she and Jacquez shared near the front entrance of the home, opposite the kitchen where Jacquez was shot.
Talmich said she awoke to "banging" on the back door, which she said she "thought it was Jack knocking. As I was getting up I heard two gunshots."
Asked if she heard anything prior to the gunshots, Talmich said, "I hear Jack, maybe saying 'leave me alone,' but I don't remember."
Talmich described walking out of the bedroom and seeing Jacquez fall to the floor in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. She said she saw a man with a gun pointed in her general direction and heard the man say, "Stay away."
Talmich said she then "ran towards Jack. I held him. His arms and knees were under him; his head was on the floor."
Talmich said she did see a bat lying on the floor in the dining room yet said she did not see the bat in the hands of Jacquez nor did she see anyone move the bat.
Talmich stated that a second officer entered the home and handcuffed her in the dining room. She was told to turn away from the scene, where she said she remained until being escorted out of the house.
During cross examination, defense attorney Robert Lowe referencing the bat, asked if Talmich knew what happened to the bat. "Viola said she kicked it and moved it," recalled Talmich, saying the bat was not in the room nor did she know exactly where Viola was in the house throughout the event.
Viola Jacquez took the stand near the end of the day Wednesday and continuing Thursday morning, testifying to her accounts of the event.