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Fate of former Greenwood Village officer charged in 17-year-old's death in the hands of the jury

Closing arguments lasted about 90 minutes on Friday afternoon.
peyton Blitstein.jpg
Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-10 00:17:21-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The fate of a former Greenwood Village officer charged in the death of a 17-year-old is in the hands of the jury.

Adam Holen, now 38, is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Peyton Blitstein on the evening of Nov. 24, 2021. He has been charged with second-degree murder, felony menacing and prohibited use of a weapon.

The shooting happened after Holen confronted Blitstein and his friends for speeding through the neighborhood. According to an arrest affidavit, Holen had a blood alcohol level of .193 the night of the shooting. According to Medical News Today, a person with a BAC of .20 is "significantly impaired," cannot drive and may vomit, feel dazed or have balance and coordination issues.

Holen had resigned from the Greenwood Village Police Department on Nov. 1, 2021, a few weeks before the shooting.

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Closing arguments lasted about 90 minutes on Friday afternoon. The outcome of the trial will hinge largely on who the jury believes was the "initial aggressor" in the incident. That determination will either bolster or undermine Holen’s claim of self-defense.

In his closing argument, the prosecutor argued that “every single act of aggression is at the feet” of Holen, saying it was he who chose to confront the teens about their speeding with a gun in hand. He also quoted Holen’s interview with detectives at the time of the shooting, in which he told them he had his pistol at “low ready” because the three teen boys were “flexing” on him.

The defense, on the other hand, argued that Holen didn’t pull his gun from his waist until after he saw Blitstein approaching with a gun and two other friends. The attorney said that “self-defense is ugly” but that “this is about as pristine a self-defense case as you’re ever going to get.”

Both Holen and Blitstein fired their weapons. Holen was shot once in the hip, and Blitstein was shot nine times, according to a forensic pathologist who testified in court. Doorbell camera footage captured the confrontation and shooting but it did not clearly show who fired their weapon first.

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While no verdict was reached Friday, jurors submitted two questions to the judge and attorneys to assist in their deliberations: whether they should consider Holen’s actions before leaving his truck and approaching the teens in their deliberations for the menacing charge and if they could find Holen guilty of one charge but not guilty of the other in regards to second-degree murder and felony menacing. The judge said that the jury should decide both questions on their own.

Deliberations will resume on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

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