Campsite killer guilty |

Campsite killer guilty

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyEliseo Madrid calls his son Joel, 16, about the guilty verdict read in court Tuesday afternoon at the Eagle County Justice Center. Charles Gross, 57, murdered Maria Madrid less than two years ago at a camp site north of Dotsero.

EAGLE ” A jury found Charles Gross guilty Tuesday of shooting Maria Madrid to death in front of her husband and son at campsite near Dotsero in 2005.

Maria Madrid’s family sat stoically during the reading of the verdict, but as they streamed out of the courtroom, they hugged prosecutors and one another and cried.

“He did a crime and he has to pay for his crime,” said Eliseo Madrid, Maria Madrid’s husband who Gross shot in the shoulder.

Gross, 57, shot and killed Maria Madrid after an argument over trash as she and her husband, Eliseo Madrid, and their son, then 14-year-old Joel Madrid, were driving away from the campsite, Oct. 7, 2005.

Gross, who said the shooting was self defense, stood with his hands clasped behind his back, nervously twiddling his fingers as Judge R. Thomas Moorhead read the verdict. Standing between his attorneys, lips pursed and frowning, Gross hung his head and closed his eyes as the word “guilty” was repeated.

The verdict helped ease the pain for Julia Quezada, Maria Madrid’s younger sister.

“It does help in a way, but Maria’s never going to come back,” Quezada said through an interpreter.

Still, Quezada will remember “Mari” as a wonderful mother who put her family first, she said.

“A person like Mari is never forgotten,” she said.

Joel Madrid, 16, was working and did not show up for the verdict because he could not stand to see Gross, Eliseo Madrid said.

Gross testified that Eliseo Madrid drove toward him after Gross asked the family twice to pick up their trash. Madrid denied driving the Toyota pickup truck toward Gross.

Gross fired four shots at the Gypsum family as they were driving in reverse out of the Deep Creek camp site on Coffee Pot Road.

“I feel good because justice was served,” Eliseo Madrid said through an interpreter.

Twelve jurors deliberated for several hours Monday and Tuesday before reaching a verdict.

“I certainly appreciate that they took their time and I appreciate the verdict,” said Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.

Gross faces life in prison without parole for first-degree murder, up to 48 years for two attempted first-degree murder convictions and up to 16 years in prison for second-degree assault, Hurlbert said.

Gross is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

The defense plans to appeal the conviction, Hurlbert said.

Gross is likely to be in prison during the process, and it’s unlikely a judge would lower his bond, Hurlbert said.

Hurlbert will ask that Gross pay Eliseo Madrid’s medical bills and funeral for Maria Madrid, but he did not know how much and whether Gross could pay it, he said.

“I think (inmates) can make three bucks a day working at the laundry but that’s about it,” Hurlbert said.

Gross’ attorneys, Terry O’Connor and Scott Poland, could not be reached for comment.

Gross is being held on a $1 million bond in Eagle County jail. After being sentenced, he will be sent to prison, where he is likely to spend the rest of his life if his appeal fails.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

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