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Weld County judge sentences man to maximum after conviction

Maurice Maestas, 27, was fatally shot on Oct. 29, 2020 in Greeley.

DENVER — A Greeley man who was on probation at the time he fatally shot someone during a riot in 2020 got the maximum sentence after he was convicted by a Weld County jury last week.

Weld District Court Judge Vincente Vigil imposed the maximum sentence Monday of 60 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for Michael Hernandez, 23. The jury convicted him of one count of second-degree murder, and one count of engaging in a riot.

On Oct. 29, 2020, Greeley officers responded to a shooting around 3 a.m. in the 1100 block alley between 11th and 12th streets. When officers arrived, they found a wounded man on the ground with a handgun nearby.

That man, identified as 27-year-old Maurice Maestas, was taken to a hospital where he died.

At the time of the shooting, Hernandez was on probation for a 2018 burglary case. Hernandez also pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder in 2017.

Credit: Weld DA
Michael Hernandez

“It’s clear from his consistent, violent behavior, that this defendant has zero respect for human life or for the law,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Anthony Perea said.

“This was completely senseless and has destroyed so many lives. Though nothing will bring back our victim, we hope this lengthy prison sentence will send a clear message to the community that we absolutely will not tolerate this type of senseless behavior.”

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