Courts gavel

The preliminary hearing for a child accused of shooting to death Karmen Keefauver was vacated Friday and another hearing was set for March 17.

Raul Coronado-Gonzalez encountered significant barriers in his life, but is responsible for some of the walls he hit, District Judge Steven Schultz said, in sentencing the Delta man to two years in prison Wednesday.

Coronado-Gonzalez was accused last October of leading sheriff’ deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in a canal crash. He was wanted on several warrants at the time and authorities said he nearly caused other crashes while fleeing.

His passenger, who was arrested with him on other allegations, will have her cases heard in March and April.

Coronado-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to vehicular eluding and, in other cases, to forgery, felony theft, misdemeanor criminal mischief, and drug possession. Charges of vehicular trespass and third-degree assault were dismissed.

Defense attorney Patrick Crane, in making the case for a sentence other than prison, targeted the way his client’s pre-sentence investigation report was prepared, as well as pointed to extreme abuse as a child that condemned a young Coronado-Gonzalez to life on the streets.

Coronado-Gonzalez had been rejected from community corrections and the board would not reconsider, “which I do think is a shame,” Crane said. Community corrections would have given Coronado-Gonzalez the best options for the treatment he needs, Crane also said.

“He’s dealt with a lot of trauma in his life,” the public defender said, and was pushed into a life of addiction that led him to his current situation.

Crane indicated the pre-sentence investigation report played a role in community corrections rejecting Coronado-Gonzalez, saying the document was drastic in some parts, but downplayed mitigating factors. The report was speculative and traded on assumptions while also going into details on dismissed cases, Crane further said.

“If we want people to be able to change the paths they’re on … when addiction is at the center, we need to give them the tools,” Crane said.

Probation with drug court as a condition would be ideal, but if not that, Coronado-Gonzalez should receive only one year in prison on his felony counts, the public defender argued.

In making the case for prison, prosecutors noted the pre-sentence report had requested the maximum sentence possible and also said probation does not provide enough structure.

Schultz also reviewed Coronado-Gonzalez’s history, which showed four felonies in Texas and him rapidly accumulating cases in Delta County once he returned.

Recidivism was an obvious concern, the judge said, as was the fact that Coronado-Gonzalez has racked up eight felonies in two states and is only 28.

“You’re far too young and the court can’t ignore your impact on the Delta community,” Schultz said.

“… You’re getting to that age where you need to turn this around.”

Schultz imposed two years in prison for eluding and two years for forgery, to run concurrently, and less about 140 days of pre-sentence confinement.

Coronado-Gonzalez received a concurrent term of one year for forgery, again with pre-sentence confinement and county jail terms of roughly six months for the criminal mischief and drug possession.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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