Colorado man stashed buddy's bullet-ridden body inside makeshift tomb in basement

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Source: 17th Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office; GoFundMe

Apr. 19 2021, Updated 11:00 a.m. ET

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In a bizarre parallel to Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” a Colorado man was convicted of murdering his friend, and stashing his body in a makeshift concrete tomb in his basement.

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Russell Montoya, Jr., 39. was convicted last week of first-degree murder and tampering with a deceased human body, following a four-day trial, according to prosecutors in Colorado. 

Authorities said Shane Nelson, 38, visited his childhood friend’s house in unincorporated Adams County.

Montoya pulled a handgun and shot Nelson four times in approximately 12 seconds during an argument on Nov. 8, 2019. 

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Two bullets hit Nelson’s chest and one struck him in the head. Nelson fell to the kitchen floor where he later died, according to the Adams and Broomfield counties District Attorney’s Office.

In the days following Nelson’s death, investigators said Montoya pieced together a plan to dispose of Nelson’s body, purchasing concrete and other materials from a local hardware store, and built a makeshift tomb under the stairs of his unfinished basement. Montoya then sealed Nelson’s body in concrete and attempted to mask the smell.

Montoya reportedly confessed days after the killing to one of his daughters when she became suspicious about his behavior and the conditions of his home.

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She reportedly notified the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, and the SWAT team executed a search warrant at Montoya’s home the next day. Montoya was arrested when authorities found the tomb. 

Montoya received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder charge and a 12-year sentence for the tampering with a deceased human body count.

“The gruesome nature of this crime is beyond words,” District Attorney Brian Mason said in a statement. “I’m grateful to the jury for enduring through the presentation of the evidence and for returning a just verdict.” 

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