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Suspect who killed woman walking her dog found sane to stand trial

The man charged in the shooting of Isabella Thallas and her boyfriend in the Ballpark neighborhood had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

DENVER — The man accused of killing a woman and seriously injuring her boyfriend while they were walking their dog in the Ballpark neighborhood was found sane and was scheduled to stand trial at a court hearing on Tuesday.

Michael Close, 37, faces 22 charges in the June 10 incident, including first-degree murder and using a banned high-capacity magazine.

Close pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on March 8. After a mental health evaluation, he was found to be sane at the time of the offenses that he's charged with, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office.

A judge on Tuesday set the weeklong trial for Dec. 6.

Isabella Thallas died in the shooting just days after her 21st birthday. Her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon, was seriously injured.

> Video above: Community transforms corner where Isabella Thallas was shot and killed.

According to the arrest affidavit in the case, Close fired at the couple after Simon told their dog to relieve itself near his apartment building in the 2900 block of North Huron Street.

Credit: Denver Police

Close was later arrested in Park County. The Denver Police Department (DPD) said an AR-15 and a handgun were found in the passenger-side floorboard of the Mercedes SUV he was driving at the time, as well as a gun belt and firearm magazines.

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Close faces charges for two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, nine counts of using a prohibited high-capacity magazine during a crime, two counts of prohibited use of a firearm and one count of disorderly conduct.

He also faces four sentence enhancers for violent crime.

According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) records, Close had no prior criminal history in the state.

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