Jury convicts man who fatally shot woman over rock-throwing incident in Aurora

Posted at 8:35 PM, Apr 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 16:28:05-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder after he fatally shot a woman who was throwing rocks at his semi-truck.

The shooting happened in the overnight hours of Oct. 28, 2022, at a Boot Barn parking lot on S. Parker Road.

According to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, John David Thoren III, 44, was sleeping in his semi-truck in the parking lot when he was awoken at 2:30 a.m. by a woman who was throwing rocks at the driver's side of his truck.

Thoren told the woman to stop and showed a gun. He then cracked open his door and said if she didn't stop throwing rocks, she would be shot, according to the district attorney's office.

The woman — later identified as 46-year-old Rachel Holmes — was shot with a 9mm gun and pronounced dead at the scene. The DA's office said Thoren called 911 to report the shooting but did not render aid.

Thoren admitted to the shooting and told investigators he was scared for his safety. However, officers found "minimal" evidence of damage to Thoren's semi-truck, according to the district attorney's office.

“Instead of driving to a safe location or calling 9-1-1 to report someone throwing rocks at his truck, the defendant decided to take matters into his own hands by confronting the woman with a gun and pulling the trigger,” Senior Deputy DA Michael Mauro said in a statement. “Based on the facts of this case, deadly use of force was not justified.”

Following a four-day trial, a jury on Friday convicted Thoren of second-degree murder, along with a violent crime/ use of a weapon sentence enhancer.

“While citizens have the right to bear arms and protect themselves from imminent danger, the evidence doesn’t support this defendant’s claims that his life was in danger,” District Attorney John Kellner said in a statement. “Jurors recognized this was not a case of self-defense.”

Thoren is scheduled to be sentenced on July 22.

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