Women worried about leaving suspect, victim alone before Sunnyside slaying

DENVER - Two women who were with a 54-year-old man just before he was killed in the Sunnyside neighborhood Tuesday morning say it happened while they went on a brief trip to the liquor store.

When they returned, court documents say they found Michael Lanford lying on the sidewalk in the area of 40th Avenue and Shoshone Street in a pool of blood. Investigators say he had been apparently stabbed in the upper left arm – and was pronounced dead on the scene. Police say his injuries were consistent with a breached artery.

The suspect in his death, 32-year-old Elizario Manuel Herrera Jr., was arrested early Friday morning. Court documents indicate the two had been drinking in the backyard of Lanford’s ex-girlfriend’s home with two women just before he died.

Lanford’s siblings say Herrera Jr. was his ex-girlfriend’s son. By the time the two women he and Lanford were with got back from the liquor store, they say he was gone.

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There was a trail of blood from the back patio to the sidewalk, according to a probable cause statement released by Denver Police Friday afternoon.

The two women Herrera and Lanford were with say that night say the two had been in a fight over some comments the 54-year-old had made, the court documents say.

One of the women told police that she was worried about leaving Herrera and Lanford alone because “both men liked to argue and both men could be violent.”

Though they were only left alone for about 15 minutes, police say when the women returned, it was too late.

According to court documents, Herrera Jr. has an extensive arrest history in Colorado that includes assault, menacing, resisting arrest, assault on a peace officer and sexual assault.

Herrera Jr. now faces charges for first-degree murder.
 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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