Murder suspect spoke of ‘rage,’ deputies say |

Murder suspect spoke of ‘rage,’ deputies say

J.K. Perry
Charles Gross

EAGLE ” Deputy Jeff Huff drove to the jail, peering in the rearview mirror to watch murder suspect Charles Gross sigh in a slumping motion as, according to the deputy, he made unsolicited admissions to killing Maria Madrid.

“‘I didn’t mean to kill her. It was rage, pure rage,’ ” is what Huff, during a hearing Monday at the Eagle County courthouse, said Gross told him shortly after the suspect was arrested Oct. 10.

Gross is accused of shooting Madrid in the head and chest the night of Oct. 7 as her family drove away from a picnic at Deep Creek campground on Coffee Pot Road north of Dotsero.

Gross allegedly approached the Gypsum family’s pickup truck and blamed Madrid’s husband, Eliseo, for not picking up after themselves. Eliseo has said the family did not leave a mess behind.

Huff also testified Monday that Gross, 55, told him he’d considered hopping on board a train, but didn’t because of his age.

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Based on the testimony of Huff and others, County Judge Fred Gannett said there is probable cause for District Attorney Mark Hurlbert to pursue charges of murder against Gross. The charges include first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder and also second-degree assault.

Hurlbert has decided not to seek the death penalty against Gross.

Eliseo Madrid ” who was driving the night his wife died ” suffered an arm injury while son Joel sat in the rear cab of the family’s pickup truck, investigators said.

Initial reports indicated Eliseo had suffered a gunshot wound but deputies said Monday they couldn’t say for sure what caused his injury.

Joel Madrid told Eagle County Detective Lt. Mike McWilliam the man who shot his mother wielded a large silver revolver, McWilliam testified Monday.

Joel also told McWilliam he saw a camper-topped truck pulling a welder on a trailer next to the family’s pickup at the campground. The truck was later found outside of Burns and determined to be Gross’ vehicle, McWilliam said in his testimony.

Eliseo drove from Coffee Pot Road and then south on Colorado River Road. Maria’s wounds so frustrated Joel that he punched out the right-rear passenger window, McWilliam said.

The family arrived at the home of Russell Ammon, to which police and paramedics were summoned. Maria Madrid was pronounced dead at 10:51 p.m., McWilliam said.

Three days after the shooting, Huff and another deputy found Gross walking south on Colorado River Road near Burns. As the deputies approached Gross, he dropped a sleeping bag and a fanny pack, Huff testified.

Huff said Gross told him: “‘The gun’s in the bag. I’m not a cop killer.'”

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found a silver revolver in the fanny pack, Huff said.

Gross was arrested two miles away from a truck matching the description of the one Joel told police he saw at the campground, investigators said.

In the car, Huff also said Gross told him, “‘Kids don’t teach their kids any respect.’ “

Gross’ next court appearance is scheduled for March 22 at 9 a.m. at the Eagle County Courthouse.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

Vail, Colorado

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