Man who shot dog walker with AK-47 found guilty of murder

DENVER (AP) — A man accused of using an AK-47 to kill a woman and injure her boyfriend while they were walking their dog was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged that Michael Close, 38, had a ‘verbal exchange’ with Isabella Thallas, 21, and Darian Simon as they encouraged their dog to relieve themselves outside Close’s apartment near Coors Field on 10 June 2020.

Close had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but jurors concluded he knew what he was doing when he opened fire, the Denver Post reported.

Close shouted out the window at the couple as they urged the dog to “potty” before taking the AK-47, which he had taken from a friend who was a Denver police sergeant. Prosecutors said he fired 24 times.

Close’s public defender Sonja Prins said Close suffered a mental breakdown, saying an abusive childhood, a series of job losses, a breakup and the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to her poor mental health. at the time of the shooting.

Close cried as the verdict was read, as did members of Thallas’s family.

Thallas’s mother, Anna Thallas, said she felt numb.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for 2 and a half years and what happened in there has passed…almost as quickly as my daughter was slaughtered,” she said in tears. “And our lives were changed forever.”

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