Dotsero man pleads guilty to attempted murder | VailDaily.com

Dotsero man pleads guilty to attempted murder

EAGLE – Jesus Miranda admitted he tried to rob two local check cashing businesses at gunpoint within a half hour of each other and shot a man who tried to stop him three times.

Miranda pleaded guilty to six felonies for a crime spree last Labor Day weekend. He remains in the Eagle County jail on $1 million bond and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23.

His crime spree could land him in jail for 50 years.

Miranda already had an open assault case at the time of the alleged robbery attempts. Court records show he also has at least nine criminal convictions, beginning in 2005 when he was convicted as a sex offender.

What they did

Jesus Manuel Miranda and a 17-year old female accomplice tried to rob two businesses within a half hour on Sept. 4, 2015 — Dinero Rapido in Eagle and Tienda Montes in Gypsum. They got away with no money from either.

During the second failed robbery attempt, at Tienda Montes in Gypsum, he held two women at gunpoint and ordered them to empty the safe.

The store’s owner told Miranda there wasn’t any money in the safe. That’s when Miranda hit her in the head with the butt of his pistol.

Alan Gonzalez was approaching Tienda Montes and saw Miranda and the teenager robbing the store. As Miranda and the girl fled the store, Miranda pointed a 9-millimeter handgun at Gonzalez’ head and told him “not to call the cops.”

As Miranda ran, Gonzalez chased him and grabbed Miranda, slamming him into a headlock.

As they wrestled, Miranda shot Gonzalez three times, including once in the chest. Gonzalez was hospitalized and has since recovered.

After shooting Gonzalez, Miranda dropped the Smith and Wesson 9-millimeter with the serial numbers filed off and fled.

The girl was arrested shortly after that second robbery attempt. She pleaded guilty and is serving a six-year sentence.

Getaway gone wrong

Garfield County resident Daniel Happle drove Miranda’s getaway car, but they didn’t get far.

Happle picked Miranda up from his hiding place, behind a dumpster at a Gypsum convenience store. From there, Happle rolled west at 50 mph along Interstate 70 through the 20 mph construction zone that was Glenwood Canyon at the time.

When Happle turned west on U.S. Highway 6, he topped 100 mph. A Garfield County deputy tried to pull him over for an expired plate near New Castle.

Near Coal Ridge High School, Happle 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 tried to rob the check cashing stores.

He has an open case in Eagle County, stemming from an incident for fighting. He turned himself in Aug. 18, 2015, and was in court six days later 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.

Two other co-defendants, Arnaldo Lucero-Almanza and Mateo Serna-Gutierrez, have been charged in connection with these robberies, and their cases are pending.

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