Joseph Maestas Sanchez, a 24-year-old man from Colorado, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for shooting a 71-year-old veteran, Michael Lewis, in the head two years ago. The incident occurred in Broomfield when Sanchez was breaking into a car belonging to Lewis’s neighbor. Lewis intervened, and Sanchez shot him before fleeing the scene. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sanchez was found guilty of first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft and criminal trespass by the Colorado’s 17th Judicial District Attorney’s office. He was also charged with second-degree murder, but the jury could not reach a verdict. After a retrial, Sanchez was convicted of manslaughter. The retrial took place on August 28 and lasted for four days, with the jury deliberating for two days before reaching a verdict.
District Attorney Brian Mason described Sanchez’s actions as horrific and expressed his condolences to the loved ones of Michael Lewis. Lewis, a proud army veteran who served in the 60s and 70s, was an active member of the community and a regular spectator at sporting events at Broomfield High School.
Lewis’s daughter, Alissa Lorenz, expressed her disappointment with the verdict, stating that she had hoped for a second-degree murder conviction. She emphasized the impact of her father’s loss on the entire community, highlighting his positive contributions and the need for justice.
In memory of Michael Lewis, an amateur softball league has been created.