Defendant was ‘too old to run,’ cops say
Vail CO, Colorado
EAGLE ” Charles Gross told police he “thought about hopping the train, but I’m too old to run” when he was arrested, police testified Thursday.
Three days after Gross allegedly shot and killed Maria Madrid, a witness reported seeing Gross walking along the Upper Colorado River Road. Gross was wearing a baseball cap and was carrying a blue sleeping bag and a red and black fanny pack, the witness said.
With that description and a photo of Gross, Sgt. Greg Thompson and former Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Huff headed north on the road, they testified. They saw Gross about mile marker 8, they testified.
Gross, 57, knew police were looking for him, Thompson said.
The murder trial of Gross, of Harbor Spring, Mich. continued Thursday, with testimony from police and crime scene investigators from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Oct. 7, 2005 Gross approached a Gypsum family’s pickup truck and blamed them for not picking up after themselves as they were leaving a Deep Creek campsite on Coffee Pot Road north of Dotsero, police said. Gross shot and killed Madrid, who died in an ambulance later that night, authorities have said.
When police found Gross, they called for back-up, got out of their squad cars and drew their guns, they testified.
Gross dropped his fanny pack with a handgun in it and lied on the ground, Thompson said.
Gross told police, “‘The gun’s in the pack, I’m not a cop killer,'” Thompson said.
Gross told police to call him “‘Chuck'” and said, “‘I know why you’re here,'” Huff said.
Gross had said he had been camping in the area.
“He said he was tired, cold, hungry, and had eaten a couple apples,” Huff said.
Gross followed orders from police and was not aggressive, police told Gross’ defense attorneys, Scott Poland and Terry O’Connor, during cross examination.
His truck was found in the Burns area, around 14 miles from where police arrested him around 3 p.m. Oct. 10, 2005, police said.
Gross said, “‘I didn’t mean to kill her. It was rage, pure rage,'” Huff said during a court hearing Jan. 30, 2006. Gross told Huff that shortly after Gross was arrested.
Huff did not repeat that testimony at Thursday’s trial.
Evidence found at the campsite was consistent with what Madrid’s husband and son, Eliseo and Joel Madrid, told police, said Agent Joe Clayton of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators took a mold of tire tracks at the camp site and compared them to tires from the Madrid family’s Toyota pickup truck, he said. They determined that the truck had “accelerated” out of the camp site, Clayton said.
On the road, Clayton said investigators found glass from a window that Joel Madrid has said he punched out due to anger. Investigators found “no obvious bullet hole” in the broken glass, Clayton said.
The four bullets were fired from outside the truck while the truck was backing up, he said.
Gross’ DNA was found on the gear shift, turn signal and in Gross’ white camper truck that the Madrids have said was parked next to their truck, said Agent Mary Schleicher of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Gunshot residue also was found on Gross’ hand and on Eliseo Madrid’s face, said Karen Romeo, Eagle County assistant district attorney, during opening statements for the trial.
Charges against Gross include first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder and also second-degree assault.
Gross has no prior criminal record in Colorado or Michigan ” where he had divided his time during the last 15 years ” and is being held in Eagle County jail on a $1 million bond.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.