Details pour out in Brush Creek beating trial; victim sees her beating for the first time in court
EAGLE — Dita Richterova survived the savage beating by Pedro Gonzalez but saw it for the first time in court Monday, June 4, along with the jury.
The Brush Creek Saloon’s security video showed Gonzalez pummeling Richterova with at least two dozen blows in the first several seconds, first with the Bud Light beer bottle from which he was drinking and then with his fists. After that, they fell out of the video frame, making additional blows difficult to count.
Monday was the third day of Gonzalez’s attempted murder trial. He is accused of trying to beat Richterova to death.
First time viewing her assault
Richterova had not seen the video prior to Monday morning. As she did, she huddled with her friends who surrounded her, as they had through the entire trial.
Gonzalez sat at the defendant’s table, shifting in his chair with his head down and eyes on the table in front of him, not watching the video.
The jury members stole glances at both as they viewed the video on the courtroom screen in front of them.
The video showed Richterova working alone in the Brush Creek Saloon during the early-morning hours of July 24, 2017. Gonzalez was the only patron.
Gonzalez pulled out a large wad of cash and started laying it out on the bar. She poured him a mixed drink, handed it to him and he paid in cash.
The security video is remarkably clear, which helped police identify Gonzalez, Eagle Police Detective Bryce Hinton said.
Richterova called last call at 1 a.m. and went about closing the bar, washing glasses and cleaning. As she did, Gonzalez went behind the bar — where patrons are not supposed to be — and tried to hand her a $100 bill. She declined and began turning out the lights.
He asked for one more beer. She pulled a Bud Light from the cooler and handed over the bottle.
She grabbed a broom and walked into the poolroom. Gonzalez followed close behind.
She swept behind the bar and then put the broom away as Gonzalez leaned against the bar, watching her.
When the beating began
At 1:18 and 28 seconds that morning, the beating began.
Richterova retreated into the kitchen to put away the broom. She turned around to head back into the barroom, the video showed.
This time, Gonzalez flashed into the screen toward Richterova, his face twisted, his beer bottle reared back in his right hand. He brought it crashing down onto her forehead, over and over, as she threw her hands up to try to protect herself.
After a full minute and dozens of blows with the beer bottle and his fists, Gonzalez pulled Richterova up from the floor by her blonde hair and hit her head against the utility sink beside them in the kitchen where she had been ambushed. She fell to the floor and then bolted away toward the front of the bar, but he caught her by her hair and pulled her back into the kitchen, where he continued the beating. He drove her head so hard into the sink that it bent one of the metal legs, the video showed.
Richterova twisted out of his grasp and ran into the poolroom, which led to the open barroom and the front door. Again, Gonzalez caught her from behind and slapped her into a headlock as she thrashed and kicked, trying to break free. As she did, he smashed her head against the corner of the pool table.
Finally, at 1:20.07 a.m., a minute and a half after the beating began, she squirmed away and sprinted out the Brush Creek Saloon’s front door. She turned left and ran up the street. Gonzalez followed her. When he cleared the door, he broke stride to pull up his sagging red shorts before continuing to chase her north on Broadway Street. If he had been heading home to his apartment, then he would have run straight up Third Street where the complex is located, and not followed her north on Broadway Street, Hinton said.
‘He’s trying to kill me’
That’s where the video ended, but not where the night ended.
When Richterova made it to her apartment, about 1⁄3 of a mile away from the saloon, she called 911, screaming into the phone, “He is trying to kill me!”
Hinton and Eagle Police Officer Dominik Scriver were on patrol in Eagle, and were in the saloon in minutes, their guns drawn.
The dispatcher patched Richterova’s call through to Hinton, whom she told that a “guy at the bar” had done it to her, describing him as an Hispanic male with facial hair.
They contacted the Brush Creek Saloon owner, and Hinton watched the video of the attack.
“What did you see?” Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum asked Hinton during Monday’s testimony.
“I saw Mr. Gonzalez brutally attack Ms. Richterova,” Hinton said.
Police pulled a still photo from the video, distributed it to regional law enforcement, and in moments, an officer identified Gonzalez.
Eagle Police and other agencies traced Gonzalez to the Juniper apartments through his vehicle registration. His car was parked in its designated parking space.
When Hinton and other officers knocked on the apartment door, the woman who answered denied that Gonzalez lived there. Another man poked his head out a bedroom door.
“Pedro Gonzalez?” the man asked.
“Yes,” Hinton said.
The man pointed to the bedroom across the hall.
Hinton, in full police uniform and his Taser drawn, called Gonzalez’s name, knocked on the door and entered the bedroom.
That was 6 a.m., and Hinton found Gonzalez on his bed drinking beer. Hinton found the shorts, T-shirt and Chicago White Sox baseball cap Gonzalez wore during the attack. He also found the receipts indicating Gonzalez paid cash for multiple beers and mixed drinks.
Richterova’s blood was found in his apartment, smeared on the doorjamb and in the hallway. A Colorado Bureau of Investigation analyst said the chances of it being anyone other than Richterova’s were 1 in 8.4 octillion — a number followed by 26 zeros.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.