Michael Close guilty in AK-47 killing of Isabella Thallas in Denver

Isabella Thallas in 2017. (Photo via Ana Thallas)

A Denver man who used an AK-47 to kill a woman and injure a man while the couple was walking their dog near Coors Field was found guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday.

Michael Close, 38, knew what he was doing when he killed Isabella Thallas, 21, and twice shot her boyfriend, Darian Simon, on June 10, 2020, while encouraging their dog to defecate outside Close’s apartment near Coors Field , the jury concluded .

Close had pleaded not guilty to insanity.

The jury also convicted him on an additional count of first degree murder in connection with Thallas’ death, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault.

Close sat with head bowed and cried as the verdict was read. A deputy has handcuffed him after the jury left the courtroom.

Michael Close (Denver District Attorney's Office)
Michael Close (Denver District Attorney’s Office)

Members of Thallas’ family also cried when they heard the verdict. Ana Thallas, Isabella’s mother, said on Thursday that she felt numb.

“We waited 2.5 years for this day and what happened in there just passed by… almost as fast as my daughter was slaughtered,” she said through tears as she stood outside the courtroom. “And our lives were changed forever.”

Read:Fetterman campaign walks back apparent call to ‘free’ every convicted second-degree murderer

The jury deliberated for a few hours Wednesday afternoon and through Thursday before a juror was excused and an alternate juror seated. The deliberations then started on Thursday at about 11:15 a.m. and ended around 2:00 p.m.

Jurors rejected the defense’s argument that Close was criminally insane at the time of the unprovoked attack.

Deputy public defender Sonja Prins had argued that Close had a mental break before committing the shooting, pointing to his traumatic and violent childhood, a string of recent job cuts, a breakup and the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to his poor mental health. at that moment.

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