Broomfield Teen Pleads Guilty In Kelsey Shannon Slaying

Alex Pacheco Professes Love, Says: I Am Not A Killer, I Am Not A Rapist

A 19-year-old Broomfield man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and having sex with the corpse pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday.

Alex Pacheco, 19, was accused of killing 13-year-old Kelsey Shannon.

Shannon disappeared Oct. 14, 2008. Her decomposed body was found three months later in a drainage ditch a short distance from her home.

Prosecutors say Pacheco covered up the crime and even helped searchers look for the victim.

He was originally charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and child abuse resulting in death. Under the plea deal, those charges were dropped and the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

He also pleaded guilty to retaliation against a witness in a separate, but related case.

During the sentencing phase of the trial, the victim’s godfather told the court that Pacheco’s plea represented “a chance for the family to put an end to one chapter of this whole sordid tale.”

“It’s a sad day,” Timothy Horne said. “Kelsey’s never going to get a chance to experience the independence and joy of getting her driver’s license.”

“She’s never going to feel the elation of her own wedding,” he added. “And she’s never going to feel the awesome responsibility of having her own child.”

“We are broken-hearted,” said Dorothy Shannon, the victim’s mother.

“Some have tried to paint a picture of a wild girl who was allowed to date an 18-year old. The truth is that he (Pacheco) came into our lives for two months in the summer of 2008 wearing a hoodie, riding a bicycle and looking like the 14-year-old that he claimed to be,” Dorothy Shannon added.

“Once we learned he was 18, we immediately ended the relationship,” she said.

The victim’s father told the court that he misses Kelsey.

“It’s a reality that I struggle to accept every day,” said Thomas Shannon. “The vicious, non-sensical act that took her life is despicable and I want a punishment that fits the crime that Alex Pacheco committed.”

Broomfield County District Court Judge John Popovich, Jr. sentenced the defendant to 48 years in prison plus five years of mandatory parole on the murder charge, and 20 years in prison plus five years of mandatory parole on the retaliation charge. The sentences will run concurrently.

Before he handed down the sentence, the judge also heard from Pacheco’s family and from the defendant himself.

“Never in a million years did I think we’d be in a situation like this,” said Pacheco’s brother, Mike Chavez.

The young defendant, dressed in a black suit and tie, dabbed at his eyes with a tissue several times while family members spoke on his behalf.

“I pray that the Shannon family and their friends will someday forgive him, as we will,” said his grandmother, Debbie Apodaca.

“This has been a tragic situation for both the Shannon family and our family,” said Linda Chavez, Pacheco’s mother. “By not going to trial, Alex is letting us move forward without further damaging our families or putting us through more pain and heartache.”

Then, Linda Chavez turned toward her son and said, “For that Alex, I thank you and I’m very proud of you.”

The defendant then stood in front of the podium and professed his love for Kelsey.

“I would like to state for the record that my love for Kelsey Shannon is unmistakably true,” Pacheco said. “My love for her is such that I would travel to the deepest, darkest depths of hell just to be with her, but I know that she is with the Father and has found peace.”

Pacheco then asked people to join him in prayer and recited the Lord’s Prayer.

Afterward, he said, “We’re not here because I fully agree that the terms and conditions of what is about to happen are righteous, fair or just, because I don’t. We are here today simply and purely because of a brave, selfless act of love. So, once again, before I continue, I would like to further express the reason and meaning of why we are here today – the meaning of love.”

Pacheco also recited several Bible verses, then said, “I am not a bad person but I have done things I regret. I am many things, but I am not a killer and I am not a rapist.”

He said he wanted the family to know that they are in his prayers.

He closed his address to the court by saying, “I would like Dotty (Dorothy) Shannon to know that if down the road she feels she would like to speak to me, I will be more than willing to make myself available.”

Pacheco’s father lashed out at the news media for their coverage of the case.

Gene Chavez also lashed out at Broomfield police who he said ordered his wife to “shut up and sit down, you cannot talk to the prisoner,” because she waived to Alex when he was brought into court.

“I’m ashamed of what they did,” Gene Chavez said, comparing the department’s initial efforts to find Kelsey to efforts underway in Greeley to find another missing girl.

“In Greeley, they’ve got the FBI involved, they’ve been searching,” he said. “Here, if your children go missing, I hope they look for them.”

The victim’s sister painted a different picture of Broomfield police, thanking them and the District Attorney’s office for hard work and support.

She said one officer in particular who had promised to bring Kelsey home alive did everything in his power to do so.

“He is a hero to me,” she said.

After the judge passed sentence, the Shannon family left the courtroom without comment.

Dorothy Shannon walked over and hugged Pacheco’s mother and father.