Thursday, August 18, 2011

District Attorney Don Quick: Maximum Penalty is Justice in Sears Case...

17th Judicial District Attorney Don Quick announced today that Cristina Sears (DOB: 07/16/1965) was found guilty of killing her step-mother and attempting to murder her step-sister.

On December 22, 2009 at approximately 3:30 PM Aurora police responded to a residence on East 22nd Drive in Aurora, Adams County Colorado in reference to reports of an armed party and shooting of two people at that location. Witnesses testified at trial that Sears entered the residence unannounced of her step-mother, Eleanor Sears (DOB: 07/23/1932) and fatally shot her while she was cooking at her stove. Witnesses also testified that Sears then went into an adjacent room and began shooting at her step-sister Joy Pigon (DOB: 02/16/1960). Ms. Pigon suffered bodily injury from being pistol whipped and shot several times while chased throughout the house and backyard by Sears. With a gun held inches from her face, Ms. Pigon begged Sears to stop shooting so the young children upstairs would not see what was happening. Evidence further showed that Sears made over 20 phone calls to family and friends within the first 17 minutes following the shooting admitting she shot two people.

Defense argued that Sears was not guilty by reason of insanity. After an hour of deliberation, an Adams County jury convicted Sears of First Degree Murder (F1), Attempted First Degree Murder (F2), First Degree Assault (F3), Second Degree Assault (F4) and Menacing (M3). DA Quick was lead prosecutor on the case and stated in closing arguments, “This case is not a tragedy. It is a murder... Cold, calculated and well thought out.”

Adams County District Court Judge Patrick Murphy immediately sentenced Sears to life in the Colorado Department of Corrections for First Degree Murder; the maximum of 48 years for Attempted First Degree Murder to be served consecutively; First Degree Assault merges into the previous two charges; the maximum of 16 years for Second Degree Assault to be served consecutively; and three years for Menacing, to be served concurrently.

“The killing of a 74 year-old woman rightly carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison,” says Quick at sentencing. “Regarding the other counts, as a prosecutor it is not often that I ask for the maximum penalty. But in this case, the maximum is justice.”

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