During last week’s preliminary hearing of the case related to the death of Yolanda LaCome in Lake County District Court, Jesus Artica of Leadville pled not guilty to second degree murder. Fifth Judicial District Judge Catherine Cheroutes also heard new details about the case at Friday’s hearing.
On January 12, Artica was arrested on one count of second degree murder after Yolanda LaCome, also of Leadville, was shot at Mt. Massive Townhomes and later pronounced deceased at St. Vincent Health.
During last week’s hearing at the Lake County Courthouse, Carlos Roldan, a sergeant with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office who responded to the January 12 incident, offered testimony. Agent Derek Graham of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation also took the stand. Graham has been investigating the case since the shooting took place.
During his testimony, Roldan described the events of the case and how his team eventually apprehended Artica outside of unit 21 at Mt. Massive Townhomes.
Upon responding to a 911 call in which an unidentified individual told dispatchers “I shot somebody,” law enforcement created a perimeter around the apartment complex and began going door to door, attempting to find out where the shooting had taken place. After finding LaCome in unit 5, responders continued searching for the perpetrator, who they believed to be wearing green camouflage shorts and a hoodie.
Roldan said his team eventually knocked on the door of unit 21, where Joseph Mascaranas and Artica were sitting on the couch inside listening to music. After the two surrendered, law enforcement confiscated a gun in Mascaranas’ apartment that lay where Artica was sitting on the couch. The weapon was consistent with details of the crime scene in unit 5 and is registered to an individual who gave the gun to Artica to settle a debt.
After being taken into custody, Roldan said Artica cried and asked if LaCome was dead.
During Graham’s testimony, the court heard details that were previously unknown about the case.
A recording of phone calls between an unidentified individual and a 911 dispatcher from the day in question was played for the court. During the phone calls, the individual said, “I shot somebody” and “Hurry, she might die.” These were the calls that Roldan and his team responded to.
During phone calls that Artica made from prison after the incident, he admits that he called 911 that day to say “I shot somebody.” Graham later reviewed these calls and described them for the court.
Other details from the case, including photos from unit 5 where LaCome was discovered, were shared with the court.
Artica’s request to lower his bail bond from $750,000 was denied, with Cheroutes stating that Artica poses a serious risk to the community. The judge also set a ten-day trial date for the case, November 29 through December 10.