Beth McCann

District Attorney

Second Judical District

201 W, Colfax Ave, Dept. 801
Denver, CO 80202


News Release

March 16, 2023 Contact: Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director,, 720-913-9025

Denver DA’s Office Secures Guilty Plea in Cold Case Homicide

DENVER— On Friday, March 10, 2023, Nicholas Lujan (age 29) pleaded guilty to one count of Second Degree Murder in connection with the 2015 murder of Mr. Jose Frias-Olivas. Mr. Frias-Olivas, then 61 years old, was visiting family in Denver at the time of his death. On the morning of August 15, 2015, he had left his daughter’s home in southwest Denver to take a walk through Harvard Gulch Park West.  Mr. Frias-Olivas was shot to death in the park in broad daylight, in mid-morning, mere feet from Federal Boulevard. He was alone and unarmed.

“This was a horrific murder and I am very proud of our Cold Case Unit and that of the Denver Police Department for working long and hard to get justice for Mr. Frias-Olivas,” said Denver DA Beth McCann.

In September 2016, DNA recovered from the murder weapon’s magazine was found to contain the DNA of Nicholas Lujan, along with that of others. Lujan was identified as a possible suspect at that time. However, witnesses to the crime were not forthcoming and several more years of investigation  ̶  including an extensive investigation based on digital evidence  ̶  took place. In 2021, the Denver cold case team arrested Nicholas Lujan and charged him with this cold case homicide.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 9, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 5B. This is Denver District Court case number 21CR20002.

About the Denver DA’s Office:
Our mission is to professionally and competently prosecute crimes and investigate criminal activity on behalf of the people of the State of Colorado and to seek equal justice for all in the criminal justice system. Our mission includes the prevention and deterrence of crimes, support of the well-being of victims, participation in the community, transparency, accountability, and improvement of the criminal justice system to provide fair alternatives to incarceration in appropriate cases.