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Man convicted in fatal double shooting outside Westminster bar

Posted at 12:49 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 14:49:44-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A man has been convicted on two counts of first-degree murder following a fatal double shooting outside a Westminster bar in March.

Adams and Broomfield County District Attorney Brian Mason announced the conviction for Steven Muniz, 40, on Thursday just before noon. An Adams County jury had returned with multiple guilty verdicts after the nine-day trial.

The charges stem from an incident in early March. On March 5, Muniz went to the Sportswatch Bar and Grill on Lowell Boulevard in Westminster. He joined family, friends and members of a gang that he was a part of, according to the district attorney's office.

At some point that evening, his group and another group began arguing with each other. It turned physical when Muniz hit a person, but ended shortly afterward, according to the district attorney's office.

In the early hours of March 6, as people began to leave the car, Muniz confronted one of the men involved in the earlier confrontation. That man has been identified as Keith Ames, 33.

At some point during their interaction, Muniz fired four shots from a 9mm handgun and two bullets struck Ames in the back, according to the district attorney's office.

Ames died of his injuries.

The other two gunshots struck 31-year-old Jessica Ybarra in her foot and back. She was standing in the parking lot nearby at the time. She also died of her injuries.

Muniz then fled on foot and jumped into a friend's truck, who was later identified as Robert Manzanares. They drove from the scene, according to the district attorney's office.

Steven Muniz and Robert Manzanares.

About two weeks later, Muniz was identified and taken into custody.

On Thursday, he was convicted of first-degree murder after deliberation and first-degree murder with universal malice. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2022.

Manzanares was convicted of accessory to a crime on Dec. 3 and was sentenced to three years in prison.