The Denver man who fatally shot a woman and wounded a man near Coors Field because he was angry about how they were speaking to their dog has a history of untreated mental illness and childhood abuse, his attorneys said Monday at the start of his jury trial.
Michael Close, 38, suffered a mental break and “did not know what he was doing” when he opened fire with an AK-47 rifle on June 10, 2020, killing 21-year-old Isabella Thallas and wounding her boyfriend Darian Simon outside Close’s Ballpark apartment on North Fox Street while the couple encouraged their dog to defecate, his attorneys said.
Close has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in Denver District Court to charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
His public defenders told jurors he committed the shooting, but argued during opening statements that Close should nevertheless be found not guilty because he was legally insane at the time of the attack.
“Mike … had a mental break,” Deputy Public Defender Sonja Prins said. “He disassociated. He was outside of his head. He did not consider anything. He had a mental break and he did not know what he was doing when he shot Isabella Thallas and Darian Simon.”