The Denver District Attorney's Office strives to provide accurate information and proper context to the public through the media on cases and issues of public interest.
Occasionally a story may misrepresent or misinterpret the facts. In those cases, we can "set the record straight" by making additional information available directly to the public.
Setting The Record Straight June 17, 2014
Recent coverage of a case involving Lorenzo Montoya, a young man convicted of felony murder when he was 15, contains misinformation, inaccurate statements and mischaracterizes the events that led to Montoya’s release from prison on June16, 2014.
Without repeating here all of the inaccurate statements and conclusions, the Denver District Attorney’s Office wants to set the record straight on these points:
Lorenzo Montoya was NOT “wrongfully convicted.”
He declined a plea offer in 2000 that would have resulted in a 6-year sentence to the Youthful Offender System. Instead, he took his case to trial, as was his right, and he was found guilty of felony murder. The accusation was that he had been the lookout and knew that he was in the victim’s stolen car and that she had been attacked. In fact, Mr. Montoya admitted this.
DNA evidence did not exonerate him.
This is not a DNA exoneration case. There were no court proceedings that litigated any new DNA evidence.
When Mr. Montoya’s attorney filed a motion requesting a new trial, based on allegations that he had ineffective counsel at the time, the Denver DA’s Office reviewed those allegations. The DA’s Office was prepared to argue each allegation and there is every reason to believe we would have prevailed and the motion for a new trial would be denied.
However, the Denver District Attorney’s Office took a larger view of this case and performed a review that included many hours reviewing the case files and talking to people involved in the original prosecution, including the victim’s family.
Based on everything from the original plea offer, to the input of the original prosecutors and others, it was determined that justice would be served in allowing Montoya to plead guilty to being accessory. Once that determination was made, the Denver District Attorney’s Office worked with Mr. Montoya’s attorney to ensure that outcome.
Denver District Attorney's Office