An El Paso County judge ruled Friday that the man who allegedly shot and killed Jeremy Diaz, a father of eight, last summer will face trial.
Diaz, 36, was allegedly shot and killed by 25-year-old Brian Alford in August at a Kum & Go in south Colorado Springs.
As part of the preliminary hearing Friday the prosecution played surveillance video from the Kum & Go which showed Alford, Diaz and Diaz’s 12-year-old son standing in line before an argument breaks out.
CSPD detective Matt Kerr testified that the altercation began when Alford turned around in line and asked Diaz and his son “what’s up?”
The argument eventually progresses to the point where Alford pulled out his firearm and shot Diaz three times, killing him instantly, according to testimony from El Paso County forensic pathologist Emily Russell-Kinsley.
Alford then left the store in his tan Ford Explorer SUV, Kerr stated.
Kerr testified that Alford was arrested several days later when his vehicle was spotted at a parking lot at Memorial Park near downtown Colorado Springs.
Much of the preliminary hearing was spent discussing who the instigator was in the verbal altercation between Alford and Diaz before the shooting.
Alford’s defense attorney Shimon Kohn never contested that his client had shot and killed Diaz, but rather he claimed that Alford was not the instigator in the verbal altercation that led to the shooting, and that his client was within his rights to shoot Diaz in self-defense.
Kohn pointed to statements allegedly made during the altercation where Diaz told Alford something to the effect of, “you better have a gun, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to stop me.”
Kohn also referred to statements made by Diaz’s son to detectives after the shooting where he said his dad was a “hothead” and that he told his dad to “just chill out” prior to the shooting.
Detectives Kyle Lambert and Ryan Livecchi with the CSPD also testified that both of the employees and patrons of the Kum & Go who witnessed the shooting thought that Diaz was the one who initiated physical confrontation, and not Alford.
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“There is not a situation where Mr. Alford is getting out of here without serious bodily injury, or death,” Kohn said during closing statements.
However, Lambert testified that in the video surveillance footage Alford can be seen initiating physical confrontation before Diaz, and that Alford told Diaz’s son “you better come get your pops or I’ll make this a crime scene,” right before he pulled out his gun.
“I understand that things moved quickly; that does not detract that there is evidence that intent and deliberation occurred,” the prosecution said during its closing arguments. “There is death on his (Alford’s) mind.”
After hearing testimony from law enforcement witnesses presented by the prosecution and defense, Judge Samuel Evig ruled that the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence to continuing pursuing all charges against Alford.
Alford faces charges of first- and second-degree murder and felony menacing in Diaz’s death.
Questions had previously been raised by Kohn regarding Alford’s competency to stand trial, but an evaluation completed by experts in November determined that Alford is competent to stand trial.
One month before the incident at the Kum & Go, Alford was arrested and charged with second-degree assault against a peace officer, third-degree assault and three misdemeanor charges. In November while in custody at the El Paso County jail, Alford was involved in an incident that led to him being charged with two counts of second-degree assault against a peace officer for allegedly assaulting two deputies.
Both cases against Alford remain open, and he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing for both on Feb. 13.
While Evig ruled in favor of the prosecution on probable cause on all charges, he ruled against the prosecution regarding Alford’s bond, despite argument from the prosecution that Alford is a considerable risk to the community.
Evig ruled that the prosecution did not establish enough evidence to prove that a conviction of first-degree murder is likely, and thus, Evig set a $1 million bond for Alford. However, the $1 million bond could be lowered at Alford’s next court appearance, scheduled for Jan. 26, where the attorneys will present arguments over the Alford’s bond.
Alford had previously been held on a no-bond hold following a hearing in December, where his $510,000 bond was revoked.