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Beth McCann

District Attorney

Second Judical District

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

720-913-2000
Beth.McCann@denverda.org

News Release

August 23, 2019 Contact: Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director, carolyn.tyler@denverda.org, 720-913-9025

Denver Jury Finds Man Guilty in a Commerce City to Denver Crime Spree that Left One Man Dead (Ukuni)

DENVER—A Denver jury today found Eric Ukuni (age 28) guilty of killing then 66-year old Ernest Gurrini. Ukuni was originally charged by The Denver District Attorney with going on an early-morning crime spree that began in Commerce City and ended in Denver. His actions that day led to 24 criminal charges being filed against him for which the jury agreed he was guilty of 10 charges.

“While I have no doubt that Mr. Ukuni wishes he could change the decisions he made that day, the fact remains Mr. Gurrini lost his life because of those decisions,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. “Our attorneys did a masterful job with an extremely complex case. This trial required a great deal of the jury whom I sincerely thank for their service.”

In the early morning of August 8, 2017, following a night of drinking and drugs, Ukuni was accused of breaking into the Mi Pueblo Market in the 6000 block of East 64th Avenue in Commerce City and attempting to rob store employees. He was found not guilty of those charges.

He was then charged with stealing a pickup truck from a father and his adult daughter who had pulled into the Mi Pueblo Market parking lot and attempting to run over them. When Commerce City police arrived, Ukuni fled in the stolen truck and gave chase to Commerce City police officers. The jury concluded he was guilty of aggravated robbery (two counts), attempted first degree assault (one count) and of eluding (one count) for those incidents.

In the course of fleeing, Ukuni was accused of striking a vehicle with such force it was pushed out of his path then, moments later, intentionally ramming another car while traveling east into Denver on E. 40th Avenue. He then crossed Havana Street and, in approximately the 10400 block of E. 40th Avenue, Ukuni hit and killed 66-year-old Ernest Gurrini who was standing beside his delivery van. Ukuni was found guilty of murder in the second degree and of vehicular homicide.

Still trying to evade capture, Ukuni then attempted to carjack more vehicles in or around 40th Avenue and Havana and the nearby 7-Eleven parking lot where Mr. Gurrini had just purchased a cup of coffee, before Ukuni was apprehended by witnesses who pulled him out of a vehicle and sat on him until Denver Police officers arrived.

Denver District Court Judge Shelley Gilman presided over this case, 17CR05597, and scheduled sentencing for October 18, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 5A.

 

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