Grandson Brutally Beat Victim and Caused Severe Injuries to Her Skull and Brain
Brighton, CO —Today, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian S. Mason announced the First-Degree Murder conviction of John Swenson, 25. An Adams County jury convicted Mr. Swenson after four days of trial. He will be sentenced on May 10, 2021, at 1:00 pm.
On December 9, 2019, the Westminster Police Department was called to an apartment at a senior housing center located along 68th Avenue. The caller phoned in a welfare check after growing concerned because she had been unable to reach her mother for several days. When officers arrived at the apartment, they found Linda Shomberg, 75, lying on the floor. The victim was bleeding from her head and was unresponsive. Shomberg was transported to a local hospital where she later died. The victim sustained severe injuries to her face, skull, and brain as a result of significant blunt-force trauma. Shomberg’s grandson, John Swenson, was charged with first degree murder in the case.
“This brutal crime shocks the conscience,” said District Attorney Brian Mason. “The defendant’s brutality against his own grandmother was truly unspeakable. I appreciate the jury returning a just verdict in this case.”
Mr. Swenson had been staying with his grandmother following his removal from a halfway house. Shomberg’s neighbors reported to police that on December 6, 2019, three days before the victim’s body was discovered, they continuously heard loud, pounding noises emanating from her apartment. Some of the neighbors reported that the sound persisted anywhere from three to seven minutes. Through the course of the investigation it was determined that Swenson brutally battered his grandmother as a result of her expressed displeasure in his life choices. The medical examiner concluded the victim suffered a stroke and the assault and blunt-force trauma to her head contributed to her death.
On April 29, 2021, an Adams County jury convicted John Swenson of FIRST-DEGREE MURDER. The defendant will be sentenced on May 10, 2021, at 1:00 pm. Deputy District Attorney Ashley Wiener and Senior Deputy District Attorney Shelby Fyles led the prosecution of this case.
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.