June 12, 2024

Sep. 7—Two women who pleaded guilty to being accessories in the killing of a woman on Flagstaff Road in 2022 were sentenced Thursday, one to prison and the other to probation and work release.

Ashley Provine, 19, was sentenced to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to accessory to a Class 1 or 2 felony; accessory to a Class 3, 4, or 5 felony; and tampering with evidence.

Elizabeth Griffin, 24, was sentenced to four years of probation with 18 months of work release after pleading guilty to accessory to a Class 3, 4 or 5 felony and tampering with evidence. She will wait in custody for a work release bed.

Both women were charged in connection with the death of Alexis Baca, 25, who was found with a gunshot to the head on July 24, 2022, near the Realization Point Trailhead off Flagstaff Road.

The man suspected of the shooting, Jaime Moore, is set for trial in December on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery, tampering with a deceased body, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Another defendant in the case, Cody Hobirk, 44, pleaded guilty to felony murder and is set for sentencing in January.

Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Catrina Weigel said while neither woman killed Baca, both helped with “concerted efforts” to cover up the death and did not contact police at any point.

“This isn’t about somebody being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Weigel said.

Both women said Thursday that they were under the control of the older men in the case. But Baca’s mother, Margo Gallegos, was at the hearing virtually and said both women were “grown adults.”

“They know what’s right and what’s wrong, and the fact that I will never have my daughter back again … that’s never going to be changed.”

While he also hoped the women would be held accountable for their actions in court, Baca’s father, Alex, also said he has looked to a higher power to find peace.

“I am a big believer in God,” he said. “He has told me to forgive you guys for what happened. I just hope that justice is served. Other than that, I think after you guys are done with your time, I hope you are better off than where you are now, and I hope you learned a hard lesson in life and move on from what happened.”

‘You bear some responsibility’

Weigel asked for a lesser sentence for Griffin, as prosecutors believed she was “the least culpable” of all the defendants.

Weigel asked for a three year prison sentence, but a pre-sentence report recommended probation.

Boulder District Judge Nancy Salomone ultimately went with the probation sentence, noting that with more than 400 days served, Griffin would likely be out on parole in a very short period of time if she were given only a three-year sentence.

“You are very clearly a person who needs and can benefit from stabilization and treatment,” Salomone said.

Griffin’s attorney, Ryan Markus, said Griffin was high the majority of the time she was in Colorado and has lived a hard life with abuse, addiction and the unsolved murder of her younger brother.

“She feels an enormous amount of guilt,” Markus said. “Ms. Griffin since that day has felt terrible.”

Griffin said she has used her time in jail since her arrest to turn her life around and get sober.

“I’m so sorry your daughter got taken away from you,” Griffin said to Baca’s family. “If there was anything I could have done differently to prevent this, I would have.”

Salomone did say she disagreed that there was nothing Griffin could have done. Salomone also noted it was sad that Griffin helped to victimize a woman going through similar struggles and put a family through the same anguish Griffin went through in losing her brother.

“She really was targeted because of her vulnerability and ultimately murdered because of her vulnerability, and you bear some responsibility,” Salomone said, adding, “You contributed to another family suffering just the way you have.”

‘I feel so guilty and ashamed’

Prosecutors asked for a five year prison sentence for Provine, as Weigel said Provine was sober and in a relationship with Moore.

“The extent of her involvement or knowledge of what was going to happen in Colorado was greater,” Weigel said.

Another major factor for Salomone was that Provine bought the gloves that police say Moore wore when he shot Baca.

“It is a spot in which your participation is significantly different than Ms. Griffin legally, if not morally,” Salomone said.

Provine’s attorney, Janene McCabe, said Provine was only 18 at the time of the incident and had been groomed by Moore, 32, since they met at church while Provine was only 15.

Cut off from her family, McCabe said Provine protected Moore “out of a terrible sense of loyalty.”

“No, she did not tell anybody about what happened, she did not reach out to police,” McCabe said. “After it happened her first thought was, ‘Who is going to love me now?’ If she didn’t protect (Moore), if she didn’t keep him safe, who would help her now?”

But in addition to the aggravating factors of her case, Provine’s attorneys actually requested a prison sentence over a community-based sentence.

McCabe said Provine did not have any underlying substance or mental health issues that needed treatment in probation programs. Instead, McCabe said Provine simply needed to serve her time and grow as a human outside of Moore’s influence.

“She is destroyed by the fact that she was part of taking advantage of a young woman like herself,” McCabe said.

Provine, who pleaded guilty to all of her charges without any sentence stipulations, said she was “here making the right choice,” something she wished she had done the night of Baca’s death.

“I feel so guilty and ashamed for running away,” Provine said. “I’m only human, and I was scared. I was protecting the person my life relied on.”

Added Provine, “Alexis shouldn’t have lost her life that night.”

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