Convicted murderer Charles Gross wants new trial, shot Maria Madrid in 2005 | VailDaily.com

Convicted murderer Charles Gross wants new trial, shot Maria Madrid in 2005

EAGLE — Convicted murderer Charles Gross wants a new trial.

The unemployed construction worker, who reportedly said that immigrants had taken his job, shot Maria Madrid as her husband, Eliseo, backed their truck away from a campground on Coffeepot Road north of Dotsero where the confrontation occurred, Oct. 7, 2005.

Gross is in prison for life plus 100 years.

Now he wants a new trial, claiming his attorneys did not represent him effectively, and that the jury instructions were confusing.

During a video conference Wednesday from a prison conference room in Sterling, Gross sat alone at a long table dressed in orange prison pants and a forest green prison shirt.

District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman said that, for now, hearings would be via video, and that there was little reason to transport Gross from prison in Sterling to Eagle County for status hearings.

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What happened

On Oct. 7, 2005, Gross was living at the campground. The Madrid family was leaving after enjoying a picnic in a nearby campsite. After they had loaded their Toyota pickup truck to leave, Gross told them to pick up their trash.

They already had, and had bagged it and put it in the back of their truck, according to testimony during the trial.

The Madrid family was backing up in their vehicle and Gross approached the passenger side window.

He continued to shout at them, pulled a gun and shot Maria Madrid in the head and chest, killing her.

As Eliseo Madrid stomped the accelerator to back away from Gross, Gross fired again and hit Eliseo in the shoulder. Their son was also in the vehicle, but escaped injury.

Gross was arrested three days later, Oct. 10, 2005, at that same campground.

Deputy Jeff Huff drove Gross to the jail, watching in his rearview mirror as Gross sighed and slumped in the backseat.

During the ride, Gross made an unsolicited admission to killing Maria Madrid, Huff said.

"'I didn't mean to kill her. It was rage, pure rage,'" Huff testified that Gross told him during their ride to jail.

During his trial, Gross testified that the Madrids tried to run him over, and that they were trying to pull a gun. During the investigation, no gun was found.

The jury didn't believe Gross' story, and on July 30, 2007, a jury found Gross guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault.

On Oct. 7, 2007, almost two years to the day after he killed Maria Madrid, Gross was sentenced to life in prison plus 100 years.

Another video hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 18 in Judge Dunkelman's court.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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