John Valdez convicted of murder for shooting man over argument at topless bar in Adams County

Valdez faces life in prison

BRIGHTON, Colo. - A 25-year-old man has been convicted of murder for shooting to death another man over an argument at a topless bar in Adams County.

A jury on Friday found John Valdez guilty of first-degree murder, vehicular eluding and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, Assistant Adams County District Attorney Jess Redman said Monday.

On Dec. 8, 2011, Valdez got into an argument with another man at the Saturday Night Live Gentlemen's Club, located at North Federal Boulevard near West 80th Avenue. 

At closing time, Valdez again exchanged words with the man, 26-year-old Javier Ruacho-Benitez. 

Valdez walked to the rear of his car, opened the trunk and pulled out a 12-guage shotgun, Redman said. Valdez returned to Ruacho-Benitez, raised the gun and fired a shot into Ruacho-Benitez's face, killing him instantly.

 Valdez fled the shooting in his car and tried to escape from pursuing Adams County sheriff's deputies. He crashed the car and took off on foot, Redman said.

Deputies and a K-9 unit found Valdez hiding near a residence and he was arrested.

Valdez faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without parole for murder, and the court has the discretion to impose consecutive sentences on the remaining charges, Redman said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday by District Court Judge Thomas Ensor. 

Valdez is also awaiting trial on an additional charge of possession with intent to distribute of a schedule I controlled substance.

"I am very pleased that justice was served for Javier Ruacho-Benitez," Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I am proud of our prosecutors, Tiffany Sorice and Ed Bull, who worked so hard on this case.”

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