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A Teenager Admitted He Murdered Another Boy at a Denver Skate Park. He Was Sentenced to Serve 7 Years.

Teenager Sentenced After Killing 16-Year-Old At Denver Skate Park
Source: Denver District Attorney’s Office; UNSPLASH

Owen Darian Ruiz will spend 7 years in a youth center after pleading guilty in the fatal shooting case.

Apr. 7 2024, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

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A teenager charged as an adult in connection with the slaying of a 16-year-old boy at a skate park in Denver has been sentenced.

Owen Darian Ruiz, who is now 18 but 16 at the time of the deadly incident, faced a slew of charges that included first-degree murder, destroying or tampering with physical evidence, and firearm charges, KDVR reported.

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Shortly after 6 p.m. on April 23, 2022, police responding to multiple reports of a shooting at Denver Skatepark found Juan Herrera-Lozano in the street suffering a gunshot wound, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Herrera-Lozano was rushed to an area hospital, but he died from his injuries days later.

Witnesses told investigators the victim had locked a pair of keys in the trunk of his car, and someone told him he had a device in his nearby car that could help. When Herrera-Lozano crossed the street, he stopped next to a sedan that authorities claim the suspect was sitting in.

According to one eyewitness account, Ruiz allegedly yelled, “Do you remember me?” He then shot at Herrera-Lozano, authorities said.

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Detectives were able to place Ruiz at Denver Skatepark when Herrera-Lozano was killed because of an ankle monitor that the suspect was wearing.

In January 2024, Ruiz pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, KUSA-TV reported. All of the other charges against Ruiz were dropped as part of the plea deal.

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On April 1, a judge sentenced Ruiz to seven years in the Youth Offender System. He was also given a 32-year suspended sentence in the Colorado Department of Corrections, which he will only serve if he does not successfully complete the Youth Offender System sentence.

In a statement to KUSA-TV, Denver DA Beth McCann said, “My office asked for a sentence in the Department of Corrections so we are disappointed by today’s outcome. However, we respect the decision of the judge, who considered presentations made by the prosecution and the defense, as well as the Herrera-Lozano family."

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