Deputy killed: Teen may ask to be tried as minor

Posted at 6:15 AM, Feb 24, 2016

Lawyers for the teen charged in the murder of Mesa County Sheriff's Deputy Derek Geer may ask to have the case moved to juvenile court.

Austin Patrick Holzer, 17, is charged with murder in the 1st degree of a peace officer, assault, trespass, tampering with evidence, failure to register as a sex offender, defacing a firearm, possession of a defaced firearm, theft, possession of a handgun by a juvenile and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.

Holzer is charged as an adult but his public defenders said they were considering asking the judge to send Holzer back to the juvenile courts, according to the Daily Sentinel.

In juvenile court, Holzer could face a term of just over three years in an institution, the Sentinel reports.

If he is tried as an adult, Holzer faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The next hearing in the case is set for March 24.

On February 8, Deputy Derek Geer responded to reports of a man carrying a gun and wearing a bandana over his face in the 500 block of Fruitvale Court.

Geer contacted a man matching the suspect's description and when the suspect attempted to run, Geer deployed his Taser, according the sheriff's office.

That is when the suspect opened fire on the deputy and took off on foot, investigators said.

Holzer was taken into custody about an hour later, officials said.

Holzer was a wanted sex offender who had run away without giving authorities his new address.

Geer was taken to the hospital with four gunshot wounds to his face, hand, chest and vest. The arrest warrant says Geer was placed on life support. After his organs were donated, he was removed from life support and died.

Geer was a Navy veteran and has been employed with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office since October 2001.  He was a husband and father of two children, ages 13 and 11.