A district court judge ruled there is enough evidence for a former police officer to stand trial on murder charges for the shooting death of a Rocky Ford man.

A district court judge ruled there is enough evidence for a former police officer to stand trial on murder charges for the shooting death of a Rocky Ford man.

Chief District Judge Mark MacDonnell set arraignment for James Ashby, 31, former Rocky Ford police officer, for February. Ashby was arrested on second-degree murder charges following the early morning death of Jack Jacquez Jr., 27, of Rocky Ford. On Oct. 12, 2014, Ashby reportedly confronted Jacquez and later shot him at the home of Jacquez's mother, Viola Jacquez, in Rocky Ford.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation lead investigator Agent Gregg Slater said he interviewed Ashby the morning of the incident. Ashby stated, according to Slater, that he was in his patrol car and approached Jacquez who was riding his skateboard on Highway 50 in Rocky Ford. He said Ashby and Jacquez interacted with each other before Jacquez walked away from the patrol car and disappeared through an entryway into the backyard of a property. Ashby followed him, according to testimony, commanded Jacquez to "let me see your hands" and later commanded Jacquez to "put down the bat." Slater said Ashby told him once they entered the house, Ashby knew Jacquez had grabbed a bat — he could read the word Wilson on the bat — and began "loading up" like a batter ready to swing. At that time, Ashby stepped back from Jacquez and fired two quick shots "gangster" style, Slater said, describing the gun as being parallel to the ground. Ashby told Slater Jacquez then dropped to the ground. Ashby pulled Jacquez out of the house, ran to his patrol car to get gloves and commanded Kyle Moore, a Rocky Ford civilian who was doing a ride along with Ashby, to grab his trauma bag. They both ran back to the body, according to testimony and Ashby began CPR until other law enforcement and emergency officials arrived.

Jacquez died of wounds received to his heart from a projectile, according to Otero County Coroner Bob Fowler. The projectile entered the left back area near the spine, severing the spine and wounding three of the four chambers of the heart. Slater later testified he had been informed that if Jacquez would have survived, he would have been a paraplegic because of the spine damage.

Jacquez's mother, Viola, was also interviewed as she had allegedly unlocked the door for Jacquez and witnessed the incident. Viola Jacquez told Slater she was in her bedroom when she heard her son asking her to unlock the door. She unlocked the door and he came into the kitchen. She told Slater he was bent over and it appeared he was being held back. He came in stumbling and then, according to Slater, Viola Jacquez saw an arm extend through the door and then she heard the sound of two gunshots. She said she saw Jack Jacquez fall and then saw a straight stream of something going toward Jack. She then felt a burning sensation. She told Slater she felt her foot hit something and she tossed a bat in the direction of her bedroom. She then told Slater she grabbed her phone to try to call her daughter and an officer came in and grabbed her phone. She was then handcuffed and taken outside.

The bat was later discovered by the investigation team on Viola Jacquez's bed.

Kyle Moore testified that he did not witness the actual shooting as he remained in the vehicle, but he was present at the time of the initial contact. He also testified that he heard Ashby radio "shots fired" and was commanded by Ashby to get the trauma bag which he did remove from the vehicle and take to the back of the residence.

Ashby's defense team, in closing arguments, asked for the dismissal of charges as they felt evidence showed this was a case of self-defense and not homicide, the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another. The defense team indicated in the affidavit Slater concluded Jacquez was in possession of a bat. Additionally, the defense team said there were misrepresentations and inaccuracies in the affidavit.

Ashby is free on bond.