Leadville man sentenced to life in prison for murdering uncle | VailDaily.com

Leadville man sentenced to life in prison for murdering uncle

Eric Christopher Gurule was found guilty of murdering his uncle in Leadville.
Courtesy photo

Eric Christopher Gurule, 29, of Leadville, was sentenced Friday to life in prison (without the possibility of parole) in the Colorado Department of Corrections after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of his uncle and former boss, Randy Flores, 55. A jury found Gurule guilty on June 22 after deliberating only a few hours.

Gurule was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office without incident on Sept. 4, 2020, in connection with the death of Flores, also a Leadville resident. Deputies responded to a 911 call, and discovered Flores dead in his home. Due to signs of a struggle and significant damage to the residence, a homicide investigation began immediately, with assistance from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Flores was the owner of Pro-Electric, Inc. — an electric services business in the Leadville area for more than 10 years. Gurule worked at Pro-Electric, and it was proved the homicide took place at Flores’ home, where an after-work gathering occurred on Sept. 2, 2020, attended by several coworkers and friends.

A coworker, Jeremy Sandoval, said he left the party around 7 p.m., leaving Mr. Flores, two others and Gurule drinking alcohol. The next morning, when Flores did not show up for the all-employee 8 a.m. meeting, Sandoval went to Flores’ residence and found numerous broken objects, holes in the wall, cabinet doors ripped off their hinges, etc. And, he found Flores dead in his bathroom and called 911.

The two other witnesses at the party said Gurule was drinking beer and “flipped a switch,” getting confrontational with them. So, they left the party and Gurule alone with Mr. Flores. Upon questioning, Gurule admitted to being at the party drinking, but claims he woke up the next morning in his own bed, with dried blood on his nose and hands, not remembering what happened the night before.

During a voluntary CBI interview, authorities noticed Gurule had a swollen right hand, scratches on his arms, side and back; and, bruises on his right knee along with a contusion on the left side of his forehead. Per a pathologist’s report, the cause of death for Flores was severe blunt force craniocerebral injuries, with rib fractures being a significant contributor. Elements of strangulation could not be ruled out, per the pathologist.

This was not the first time Gurule had interactions with law enforcement, alcohol and related violence. Per a Commerce City Police Department report in 2018, Gurule was intoxicated at a bar, trying aggressively to get other patrons to drink with him. When one customer tried to get him to stop, Gurule ‘head butted’ him in his nose. When another customer tried to escort Gurule out of the bar, he was also head-butted. Responding officers asked him why he was violent with the two males, and Gurule claimed to not remember anything, as well.

“I would like to thank the efforts of law enforcement and particularly the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for their quick response and willingness to lead this investigation. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Flores’ family and the community, and we hope that today’s sentencing helps close this chapter in their grief for this overwhelming loss,” said Heidi McCollum, 5th Judicial District Attorney.

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