ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — An Adams County jury convicted a man of first-degree murder for a March shooting outside a Westminster bar, the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
The guilty verdict against Steven Muniz, 40, was returned following a nine-day trial. He will be sentenced on Jan. 5.
On March 5, Muniz attended Sportswatch Bar and Grill along Lowell Boulevard in Westminster with fellow gang members.
>The video above aired the day after the shooting.
At some point during the evening, the group that Muniz was with became embroiled in a confrontation with another group of individuals at the bar. The altercation became physical when Muniz punched one of the people from the other group, but it ended a short time later.
In the early morning hours of March 6, people began to leave the bar, including Keith Ames, 33, who was one of the men involved in the earlier confrontation.
As Ames left, Muniz followed and confronted him as they reached the parking lot.
At some point during this second confrontation, Muniz fired four shots from a handgun, two of which struck Ames in the back. He later died.
The other two shots struck Jessica Ybarra, 31, in the foot and back as she stood in the parking lot nearby. She also died as a result of the shooting.
After firing the four shots that killed Ames and Ybarra, Muniz ran away and eventually got in the truck of a friend and left the area.
Nearly two weeks later Muniz was identified as the shooter and was taken into custody.
“This was an unconscionable and reprehensible crime,” said District Attorney Brian Mason. “The defendant murdered two people in cold blood to settle a petty score. His violent actions left two families reeling and a city asking why? Now he faces a lifetime in prison for his crimes – and our community will be safer for it. I appreciate the jury returning a just verdict – and I’m grateful to the Westminster Police Department and my entire prosecution team for their extraordinary work on this challenging case.”
On Dec. 3, an Adams County jury convicted Robert Manzanares of being an accessory to a crime. He was the one who drove Muniz from the scene. He was sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections.
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