Criminal charges not filed against Vialpando

CHAMA — Criminal charges will not be filed in the Aug. 8 shooting death of Randy Vialpando, according to 12th Judicial District Attorney Robert S. Willett.

Willett explained that a thorough investigation revealed there wasn’t probable cause to file criminal charges against Nealson Vialpando, Sr. for actions he took in the shooting.

After a thorough evaluation of reports from the Costilla County Sheriff, the Costilla County coroner, witness statements, body camera and photographic evidence, Willett concluded that the act was self-defense.

Vialpando went to the family home in Chama during the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 8, in Chama and a disagreement took place in which Randy suffered a gunshot wound to the upper abdomen.
Law enforcement was immediately called, Nealson cooperated fully and Randy was taken by ambulance to San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center in Alamosa, where he died, according to reports from the sheriff at the time.

In a letter to the Vialpando family and Costilla County Sheriff Danny Sanchez, Willett explained that he could not overcome an affirmative self-defense claim pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute 5 18-1-704 et. seq.

“Nealson Vialpando, Sr. had a reasonable fear for his life and the lives of others present when Randy Vialpando armed himself with a large fixed-blade knife and approached in an aggressive and unwarranted manner on Nealson, Sr. and others present.”

Willett said, in addition, the fact that only one shot was fired, medical and law enforcement were immediately notified, Nealson, Sr. cooperated fully with the investigation and had injuries consistent with his account and that of most of the other witnesses, also persuades him “that this tragic event is likely legitimate self-defense and therefore not a criminal act,” so he declined to file criminal charges against for the shooting in this case.


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