17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Secures Two Murder Convictions in Back-to-Back Jury Trials as Trials Resume During the Pandemic
DA Brian Mason applauds the dedication of jurors and his staff during unique circumstances
Brighton, CO —Today, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian S. Mason announced the first-degree murder convictions of Mauricio Eduardo Anchondo-Olivas, 29, and Steve Young, 45. Mr. Anchondo-Olivas and Mr. Young were each convicted after separate trials by jury. The two convictions mark the resumption of jury trials in the 17th Judicial District after a several month stoppage because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 12, 2020, Easter Sunday, Javier Zamudio-Anaya, 43, attended a gathering at a home in Federal Heights with a group of individuals he knew. The men at the party, including Zamudio-Anaya and Mauricio Eduardo Anchondo-Olivas, 29, grew up in the same town in Mexico. Anchondo-Olivas was once a roommate of Zamudio-Anaya in Denver. The two men decided to leave the home sometime between 5:00 am and 6:00 am. They departed in Anchondo-Olivas’ truck, which later turned out to be stolen. At some point during that trip, Anchondo-Olivas shot Zamudio-Anaya twice in the abdomen and once in the head before slitting his throat.
Anchondo-Olivas abandoned his truck with Zamudio-Anaya’s body inside near 120th and Tejon in Westminster. After doing so, Anchondo-Olivas called a friend to ask for a ride. Surveillance cameras at a nearby bank captured the defendant’s departure. The friend later said that Anchondo-Olivas admitted to murdering Zamudio-Anaya. Anchondo-Olivas was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated motor vehicle theft by an Adams County jury on Friday, April 9, 2021. The defendant was sentenced to life without parole. During the sentencing phase, Zamudio-Anaya’s 19-year-old son expressed deep sadness as a result of his father’s death.
Senior Lead Deputy District Attorney Patrick Freeman and Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Sisk led the prosecution team for this case.
Defendant Steve Young:
On June 1, 2020, at 12:21 pm, John Cyprian, 41, walked along 16th Avenue and Akron Street in Aurora with a female named Charly Lewis, 33. As they continued along 16th Avenue, a man driving a large gray SUV pulled up nearby. The driver, Steve Young, exited the vehicle and charged at Cyprian. Young brandished a 45-caliber handgun and fired the weapon at the victim. The bullet struck Cyprian in the small intestine and damaged a major artery. He crawled to a nearby field where he died. Young returned to the SUV with Lewis, and the two fled the scene.
Young was convicted of first-degree murder by an Adams County jury on April 2, 2021. The defendant will be sentenced on Friday, April 16, 2021, at 9:00 am, and the sentencing can be viewed via a virtual Webex link. Chief Deputy District Attorney Rhoda Pilmer and Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Rossi led the prosecution team. Young is scheduled to be tried in Denver District Court for the murder of Charly Lewis later this year.
“These were senseless, gruesome crimes, and I am pleased that justice was served,” said District Attorney Brian Mason. “I’m grateful for the jurors who, despite the pandemic, still came in to hear these important cases and render just verdicts.” “I am especially grateful to my staff for taking these cases to trial and, with these convictions, making our community safer.” “These are incredibly difficult cases under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has made them significantly harder. I am truly proud of their hard work.”
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.