Jury acquits Eagle County man of assault charges stemming from one-punch knockout at Avon gas station

Hector Samuel Palacios-Ulloa is all smiles after he leaves the courtroom afer a jury found him not guilty of assault, charges stemming from a one-punch fight at a gas station. Palacios-Ulloa is flanked by his attorney Jesse Weins, left, and his son.
Randy Wyrick| |

EAGLE — An Eagle County man was defending himself when he knocked another man unconscious during a one-punch fight at an Avon gas station in November 2016, a jury determined.

The jury took just one hour the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 12, to acquit Hector Samuel Palacios-Ulloa, 57, of assault charges.

According to a witness during the four-day trial, Gerardo Herrera Rosales accosted Palacios-Ulloa in an Avon gas station.

“We have a Make My Day law in Colorado,” Jesse Wiens, Palacios-Ulloa’s attorney, told the jury during closing arguments.

The fight lasted less than 10 seconds and consisted of just one punch, but it was enough to land Rosales in a Denver hospital’s intensive care unit.

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“Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that just because someone suffers injuries that someone else is criminally responsible for those injuries,” Wiens said.

Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Noone said that during the Nov. 26, 2016, altercation, Palacios-Ulloa “cold-cocked” Rosales.

Domestic disputes

The whole thing started as something of a domestic dispute. Palacios-Ulloa was living in Rosales’ house with his wife, according to police.

Avon police said Palacios-Ulloa texted pictures of Rosales with other women to Rosales and Rosales’ wife. They asked Palacios-Ulloa to move out. He did.

Rosales said during the trial that he was not angry when Palacios-Ulloa moved out. Palacios-Ulloa said he was, Wiens said.

When Palacios-Ulloa spotted Rosales in the Shell station where Palacios-Ulloa was waiting for a friend, Palacios-Ulloa climbed out of his friend’s vehicle and walked over to Rosales, who was pumping gas into his own vehicle.

According to testimony, Rosales went at Palacios-Ulloa and sparked a confrontation. Both men were in a fighting position, a witness testified. In the course of defending himself, Palacios-Ulloa punched Rosales once in the face.

Rosales immediately stiffened and fell over backward, hitting the back of his head on the concrete, witnesses testified.

A witness testified that it appeared that Rosales had been the aggressor.

Weins said Rosales was hit only once, and in the face, not in the back of the head, as prosecutors claimed. After Palacios-Ulloa hit Rosales, he walked back to his vehicle, witnesses said.

After police arrived, Rosales was quickly transported to a local hospital for initial treatment and then flown by helicopter for additional treatment.

Noone said Palacios-Ulloa fled the scene. Wiens scoffed at that, saying Palacios-Ulloa had just returned from his home country, Honduras.

“If he were going to flee, he would have fled to Honduras,” Wiens said.

Local law enforcement finally tracked Palacios-Ulloa through his cell phone to Paramount, California, where he was staying with family members.

Avon police contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, which quickly located Palacios-Ulloa and arrested him.

Palacios-Ulloa was charged with felony assault and causing serious bodily injury, and he faced up to eight years in state prison.

With the jury’s not-guilty verdict, he is now free.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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