Judge Sentences Adams County Defendant to 28 Years in Prison for Opening Fire on a Vehicle With an AR-15, Killing the Driver
October 20, 2023
Brighton, CO — Today, District Attorney Brian Mason is announcing the prison sentence for William Schuette, 23, following his Second-Degree Murder conviction at trial on August 7, 2023.
On February 8, 2021, Mr. Schuette awoke to a burglary in progress at the Haraf Foods Market along Belle Creek Boulevard in Commerce City. Schuette lived in an upstairs apartment above the market. Mr. Schuette went outside onto a balcony armed with an AR-15 rifle and began to yell in the direction of those who were involved in the incident. Shortly thereafter, Schuette opened fire on the vehicle as it was attempting to drive away. The driver, James Martinez, 24, was attempting to leave the area when Schuette fired his weapon four times into the vehicle. Martinez was struck twice and later pronounced deceased at the scene. On August 7, 2023, after six days of trial, an Adams County Jury convicted Schuette of Second-Degree Murder.
On October 20, 2023, an Adams County Judge sentenced Schuette to 28 years in the Department of Corrections.
"While this was a tragic case on multiple levels, justice is ultimately reserved for the courtroom, not the streets," said District Attorney Brian Mason. "It's not the job of a man standing on his upstairs apartment balcony to pull out an assault rifle and open fire on a group of people in a car because he believes a crime is in progress. This defendant had no right to take the law into his own hands and take another man's life. I'm thankful the jury saw it the same way."
Assistant District Attorney Rhoda Pilmer and Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian McGarry led the prosecution of this case.
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District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.