Miranda’s bond set at $1M
Jesus Miranda’s charges
Jesus Manuel Miranda faces five felony charges and a misdemeanor
Attempted First Degree Murder, Felony
Aggravated Robbery, Felony
Aggravated First Degree Assault, Felony
Aggravated Second Degree Assault, Felony
Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Felony
Bond: $1 million
Daniel Lee Happle’s charges
Displayed expired number plates
Vehicular eluding, felony
Tampering with physical evidence, felony
Possession of weapons by previous offenders, felony
Obstructing government operations, misdemeanor
Drove vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Drove vehicle while revoked as a habitual traffic offender, felony
Accessory to crime - if crime was class 3,4 or 5, felony
EAGLE — Just call Jesus Manuel Miranda the Million Dollar Man.
In Miranda’s first Eagle County Court appearance, Judge Katharine Sullivan set his bond at $1 million.
Miranda, 31, of Dotsero, is in jail for an assortment of violence-related charges for an alleged bungled armed robbery last Friday. Among them, attempted murder for shooting Alan Gonzalez three times. Gonzalez is recovering.
Two bungled burglaries
Witnesses say Miranda and a 17-year-old female accomplice tried to rob a Gypsum clothing store, Tienda Montes. They got away with no money, and the girl was arrested shortly afterward.
Police say it wasn’t Miranda’s only bungled robbery that day.
About a half hour before he and the girl allegedly tried to rob Tienda Montes, Miranda also allegedly tried to rob Dinero Rapido, a check cashing business in Eagle.
“The suspect was identified and arrested because of the excellent cooperation between the witnesses and law enforcement officers from the Eagle County and Garfield County sheriff’s offices,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown. “Their professionalism and swift action brought this dangerous suspect into custody before he could do more harm.”
Daniel Lee Happle was driving Miranda’s getaway car and was arrested after a high speed chase in Garfield County.
The 17-year-old girl was arrested last Friday afternoon. She’s being held in a Jefferson County youth facility.
What police say happened
Miranda, a convicted felon and registered sex offender, tried to rob Rapido Dinero in Eagle, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The clerk told Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies that they heard the locked door handle to the store’s money room being jiggled, as if someone was trying to get into it. When the clerk looked up at the store’s camera, the clerk saw two hooded people trying to get into the locked room. When they failed, they immediately left the store, the clerk said.
Sheriff’s investigators reviewed the store’s surveillance video and determined that the two hooded suspects in the Dinero Rapido incident were the same ones that were involved in the aggravated armed robbery a half hour later at Tienda Montes.
Around 12:20 p.m. last Friday, Miranda and the girl walked into the clothing store, and she closed the door behind them, witnesses said.
As he demanded money from the store clerk, he hit her on the side of the head with a handgun he was brandishing, a Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter with the serial numbers filed off, according to the arrest affidavit.
Miranda stole two cell phones from a female customer, valued at $1,200, but got no money, and started to flee the store, the arrest affidavit said.
That’s when a male customer, Gonzalez, saw the robbery and chased Miranda and the girl when they were outside the store. Gonzalez was there to send money to his family in Mexico.
Gonzalez stopped Miranda, and as they struggled over the handgun, Gonzales was shot three times — once in the center of his chest, once in the left hand and once in his left armpit area. A fourth round might have been shot into the ground, police said.
Gonzalez was rushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center in stable condition and is recovering from his gunshot wounds.
During their fight, Miranda dropped the gun and fled with the girl, police said.
Witnesses identified Miranda and the girl when they were shown Facebook pictures, police said.
Meth and Mexican Mafia
That’s about the time Daniel Lee Happle, 38, of Rifle, got involved.
Happle told police that “the ‘Mexican mafia’ had called him and told him to pick up Jesus Miranda and give him a ride.” He also told police that he ate a bag of methamphetamine as the cops were closing in.
What we do know is that Happle’s license was revoked because he’s a habitual traffic offender. However, that didn’t stop him from picking up Miranda and heading west, in a reportedly stolen car.
Happle rolled through Newcastle doing 50 mph in a 20 mph zone. When he turned west on U.S. Highway 6, he topped 100 mph, according to police. A Garfield County deputy tried to pull him over for an expired plate near Newcastle.
Near Coal Ridge High School, Happle reportedly slowed to around 10 mph and jumped out of the car to flee on foot, leaving Miranda in the passenger’s seat. Once a deputy managed to pull the car’s brake, Miranda identified himself as Roberto Neveraz, of whom there was no record, so police added criminal impersonal (a felony) to his long list of charges.
Meanwhile, Happle was found about a half hour later by the Glenwood Springs Police Department’s K9 unit, hiding in some bushes. Police told him to come out, and when he refused, police reportedly sent the dog in to fetch him, which it did.
Police said they smelled alcohol, and started questioning Happle, who told them he had eaten a bag of methamphetamine during the pursuit, according to his arrest affidavit.
Miranda’s trail of trouble
Miranda wasn’t out of the legal woods from his last bout with the law when he allegedly robbed the clothing store.
He has an open case in Eagle County, stemming from an incident for fighting. He turned himself in Aug. 18 and was in court Aug. 26 for a bond hearing.
In 2011, he pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
In 2007, he did the same thing.
Also in 2011, Miranda pleaded guilty for attempting to escape from a felony conviction, a Class 4 felony, and was sentenced to two years in jail.
Miranda started as a frequent flier in the justice system when he was convicted of a sex offense when he was a minor, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
On Sept. 26, 2005, Miranda pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
On Aug. 7, 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance — more than 1 gram, a Class 5 felony.
On Oct. 5, 2009, he pleaded guilty to harassment and was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
On June 17, 2010, he pleaded guilty to possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance — 1 gram or less, a Class 6 felony.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.
Will Granbois, of the Glenwood Post, and John Laconte, of the Vail Daily, contributed to this story.