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Two of 4 defendants sentenced in case of woman shot, killed at Boulder County trailhead

Realization Point
Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 20:14:15-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Two defendants were sentenced on Thursday afternoon after they had pleaded guilty to accessory charges in connection with the murder of a woman at a Boulder County trailhead in the summer of 2022.

The two people sentenced Thursday, Elizabeth Nicole Griffin, 24, and Ashley Lynn Provine, 19, had a joint sentencing hearing in a Boulder County courtroom in front of Judge Nancy Salomone.

Griffin was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to felony tampering with physical evidence and felony accessory to a crime in June. Afterward, Provine was sentenced to four years in prison after she had pleaded guilty to two felony counts of accessory to a crime and felony tampering with physical evidence in August.

Griffin and Provine, along with two others, were arrested in late July 2022 and early August 2022 in connection with the death of Alexis Alyssa Baca, 25, whose body was found near the Realization Point trailhead in Boulder County, which is along the 3400 block of Flagstaff Road, on the morning of July 24, 2022.

The other two defendants were identified as Jaime Alonso Moore and Cody Lee Hobirk.

    Based on an arrest affidavit, when deputies arrived at the trailhead on the morning of July 24, 2022, it was clear Baca was deceased and had a bullet wound above her left ear. The police investigation found that the group all knew each other. On the evening of July 23, they drove in two separate cars to the Boulder trailhead, according to the affidavit. The suspect accused of fatally shooting Baca — Moore — said she fired at him first, and that his fiancée Provine, friend Hobirk, and friend's girlfriend Griffin helped him cover up the homicide.

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    The investigation led authorities to Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is about a 10-and-a-half-hour drive south of Boulder. After interviews and collecting evidence — with the help of the Las Cruces Police Department — the four suspects were identified. They are all residents of Las Cruces. Baca was also a resident of the city.

    According to the affidavit, in a police interview, Provine told police she, Moore and Hobirk had driven up to Colorado from New Mexico to help Baca, who knew both men. Provine said Baca had called Hobirk for help returning to New Mexico. Provine said when they reached the Boulder County trailhead the night of the shooting, Moore told her and Griffin to take a long walk, which they did. She said when they returned, Baca was gone, according to the affidavit.

    In an interview with detectives following his arrest, Moore openly admitted he had shot and killed Baca, the affidavit reads. Moore and Hobirk allegedly tried to get her body out of the car — they both got her blood on them — and put her on the hillside near the trailhead, where she was found the following morning. Provine and Griffin helped throw away items from inside the car and wiped down door handles, the affidavit reads.

    The group then fled to New Mexico, tossing the two firearms into the wilderness in random places, the affidavit reads. The FBI was involved in the investigation.

    Both Griffin and Provine pleaded guilty to charges against them in 2023.

    The place where Baca was murdered now has a memorial, thanks to Baca's family.

    In court Thursday, Baca's father and mother both spoke. Her father, Alex Baca, said he has forgiven the defendants but hopes they think of Baca not being able to see her daughter again. He added that after they have done their time, they are better people than they are now. Baca's mother, Margo Gallegos, said she wants justice for her daughter and the maximum sentence possible.

    "They don’t know how painful it is and what they’ve done to my daughter and to her daughter’s life," she said. "They took my only child away from me. And I’ll never ever have my daughter in my life again.”

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    Judge Salomone took up Griffin's case first.

    Catrina Weigel with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office started her sentencing argument by stating that Baca was a mother and had people in her life who loved her. Nobody deserves to be shot in the head and left on the side of the road, she said. Weigel said police reached a standstill early on in the investigation because Baca did not have any identification on her, but they were ultimately able to learn who she was and tracked down suspects.

    Weigel said the two defendants at Thursday's sentencing did not actively murder Baca, but played a role as an accessory. At the trailhead, after Moore sent the women away, they returned to see that Baca was gone and her car was covered in blood, Weigel said, adding that there was no doubt what had happened. The group then started planning to cover up the crime, she said. She added that they stole Baca's luggage, purse and other belongings. Some of it was thrown away.

    Weigel said after the murder, the two men returned to the crime scene while Griffin and Provine were left alone in a hotel room. She questioned why they didn't try to alert somebody or call police. Instead, the group cleaned the car at a carwash, though she noted Griffin was not heavily involved in this. Afterward, they drove around the state, took photos and then returned to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

    Griffin was "the least" culpable of the group, Weigel said. She asked for three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

    Attorney Ryan Markus with the defense said Griffin has been a model inmate in custody, taking classes and acting as a mentor for her pod. She is ready to build a life away from drugs, he said.

    Markus also read a letter from Griffin's brother, which detailed their upbringing. He explained that she was living in a car as young as 5 years old. She was abused by stepdads and when she sought help from her mother, she watched her spiral into a world of alcohol and drugs as the family fell into poverty. Griffin did not receive therapy or counseling, or even love or affection, her brother said in the letter. When she was 10 years old, her older sister shot her up with drugs against her will, the brother said. Griffin dropped out of school in ninth grade to become a caretaker. And years later, when her younger brother enrolled in the ROTC, he was shot to death in his bed — a murder that remains unsolved. So, she turned to the only coping mechanism she knew: drugs. She was living with an older man who "was spoon-feeding her fentanyl," the brother said.

    He said Griffin was high for most of the trip to Colorado and looking back now, she feels a lot of guilt about what happened.

    Griffin also spoke to the court briefly, saying she was sorry for her actions. She promised to stay away from people who use drugs and to remain sober, explaining that she now hopes to prevent similar situations from happening to other people.

    Judge Salomone then sentenced her to four years of probation because, in addition to the plea, she believed Griffin needed stabilization and treatment.

    The judge then moved onto Provine's case.

    She confirmed that Provine had pleaded guilty to the charges against her without a plea bargain and had requested a prison sentence.

    Weigel with the prosecution said their sentencing argument for Provine was five years.

    Provine had been living with Moore, who she was in a relationship with, at the time of the crime. Weigel argued that because Moore was the one who planned the trip to Colorado, Provine likely had insight into what was going to happen. She also purchased gloves from Walmart that were ultimately used in the murder.

    Following the murder, Provine was seen extensively cleaning Baca's car at the car wash with Moore and Hobirk. Even so, Weigel said when police got ahold of the car, they found blood and brain matter inside.

    Provine's attorney, Janene Mccabe, stressed that the relationship between Provine and Moore started when she was just 15 years old and that she was preyed upon. Moore was a pastor at their local church and members raised the alarm when he seemed only interested in hanging out with the young teenage girls, Mccabe said. But Moore saw that Provine's family lacked a father figure and he stepped into the role, helping with errands, providing money and doing chores. Provine and Moore slowly fell into a relationship and, when she turned 18 in January 2022, she moved into his RV, which was parked on the property of a garage he worked out of, Mccabe said.

    She found herself unable to make her own decisions. After she graduated from high school, she quit her job to work for Moore. She thought it was love, Mccabe said.

    Baca was killed about seven months later.

    Mccabe said Provine did not tell police about the shooting because she feared nobody would love her. She protected Moore in "a terrible sense of loyalty," Mccabe said.

    Since her arrest, Provine has worked to become a better person in the county jail, where she eventually realized the relationship was toxic. When asked why she requested time in prison for the charges against her, she said she believes she deserves to be punished, Mccabe said. She hopes to complete that sentence and then get her life back on track. She is destroyed by the fact that she was part of this crime, she said.

    Like Griffin, Provine also addressed the court.

    She remembers meeting Moore, how he grew into her family and how she slowly began relying on him. She said she didn't evaluate the facts of the relationship until she was in jail.

    "It hurts knowing Moore was completely aware of his actions and took advantage of me," she said.

    Provine said she feels guilty and ashamed for trying to run away from the crimes.

    “I’m only human and I was scared," she said. "I was protecting the person my life relied on.”

    She said she knows pleading guilty to three felony charges will impact her future. Judge Salomone sentenced her to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

    According to court documents, a jury trial for Moore's case will begin on Dec. 4.

    Hobirk's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2024. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

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