Judge denies appeal in Sir Mario Owens death penalty case

Posted at 5:05 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 19:05:42-04

DENVER – An Arapahoe County District Court judge has denied the appeal of Sir Mario Owens, who is one of three people on Colorado’s death row, despite finding that prosecutors withheld some evidence in his case.

Owens has been appealing his death penalty sentence and conviction for years, and the ruling by Judge Christopher Munch does not end his state or federal appeals.

He’s been convicted of killing three people in two separate incidents. He shot Gregory Vann to death in 2004, then killed two witnesses in that case in 2005: Vivian Wolfe and her fiancé, Javad Marshall-Fields, whose mother, Rhonda Fields, is the state senator from Aurora.

Owens’ attorneys had argued some of his attorneys misrepresented him. They had also unsuccessfully argued that Owens deserved a new trial because of an allegedly-tainted jury.

Munch found that in addition to Owens’ attorneys’ arguments, prosecutors also failed to show that they’d paid witnesses in the case or gotten favorable prosecution in their own cases, but denied to agree with Owens' attorneys that extra evidence could have poked holes in the witnesses’ credibility had a new trial been granted.

“The court has considered the prejudice resulting from trial counsel’s errors, together with the prosecution’s and direct appeal counsel’s errors, as well as the alleged juror misconduct, and concludes the errors, when considered cumulatively, are insufficient to warrant a new trial,” Judge Munch wrote.

“Owens is ‘entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial,’ … A fair trial whose result is reliable. … Owens received a fair trial, and its result is reliable,” he wrote.