Prosecutor boasted of brake shoe gift after winning 110-year conviction of trucker
A Jefferson County deputy district attorney received a makeshift trophy as a “memento” for securing a 110-year prison sentence for a truck driver who caused a crash near Colorado in 2019, leading to four deaths. Kayla Wildeman shared a photo of the “trophy” — a brake shoe from a semi-truck with the case number and her name printed on a placard–on her personal Facebook page. It has since been deleted.
“Get yourself a trial partner as great as Trevor Moritzky,” the deputy district attorney captioned the photo. “He turned a brake shoe from a semi truck into a memento. What a special gift from truly a special person.” She added: “I never asked for a new bff at work, let alone one that is old enough to be my father (no offence) but I sure am grateful this trial brought you into my career as both a colleague and a friend!
Words will never convey how lucky I am to have gotten the opportunity to learn from you!” Ms Wildeman and Mr Moritzky worked together in the prosecution of 26-year-old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who lost control of his semi-trailer truck brakes on Interstate 70 near Lakewood, Colorado, on 25 April 2019. He crashed into stopped traffic, resulting in fires and explosions.
Four people died in the crash. After Ms Wildeman’s Facebook post, the district attorney for the 1st judicial district, Alexis King, said they had addressed the matter internally. Clarifying that the trophy was “not a piece of evidence from the case”, Ms King said in a statement that “the post was in very poor taste and does not reflect the values” of her administration.
James Colgan, the defence attorney for Aguilera-Mederos, said the trophy was unprofessional. “Lives are ruined all around and they celebrate,” he said, according to the Denver Post. The League of United Latin American Citizens (Lulac), a Latino civil rights organisation vocal about the case, demanded “immediate disciplinary action and a formal apology”.
“To say we are disgusted over this so-called trophy is an understatement. Lulac demands a full investigation into the matter to identify the people who are involved so that they face the maximum disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal,” Domingo Garcia, Lulac national president, told The Denver Channel.
In October, a jury found Aguilera-Mederos guilty on 42 counts, including vehicular assault, first-degree homicide, first-degree assault, reckless driving and careless driving.
He was handed a sentence of 110 years in prison last week for what has been deemed a “tragic accident”, amid huge uproar.
More than 4.5 million people have signed an online petition asking Governor Jared Polis to commute the sentence.