Suspect In Murder Case Dismissed

Boulder County DA Appeals Judge’s Decision

DNA evidence linked John Angerer to a shallow grave and a body, but it wasn’t enough for a murder case, according to a Boulder County judge.

Now, he’s a free man.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett is appealing the dismissal, but no one is arguing that from the beginning this was a difficult case.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said the body hikers found near Lyons in February of 2006 was so badly decomposed, it was hardly recognizable as human.

Since then, detectives had to try to piece together a murder mystery.

They identified the victim as 38-year-old Angela Wilds, who had most recently lived in Longmont.

Then, they had a break in the case in January.

Court records show DNA sampled at the scene and on the victim’s body was a match to John Angerer, a man with a lengthy criminal record in Colorado, including assault, menacing and arson.

Angerer was in custody in Alaska on a probation violation and, according to court records, denied ever meeting Wilds.

Court records said witnesses told investigators they had seen the pair together before Wilds died.

But in Monday’s preliminary hearing, a judge dismissed the case.

Angerer's public defender argued that it wasn’t clear Wilds was murdered because the coroner had testified that the cause of death was undetermined and that it could have been a heart attack.

“Also, it’s not circumstantial evidence of murder that someone may have known someone, may have had contact with someone or even sexual contact with someone,” said Seth Temin, Angerer’s public defender.

Prosecutors had presented a pathologist who had testified that Wilds was most likely asphyxiated, but the judge ruled the findings were not “credible as a matter of law.”

“If we agreed with the judge’s decision, we wouldn’t be appealing it,” said Garnett.

Garnett said cold cases are often complicated to prosecute, but he said in this case, he still believes they have the right man.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle released a statement saying, “Not every real case can be solved with ‘CSI Miami’ certainty, but our investigators built a strong circumstantial case and exhausted every effort to see justice done.”