An error-prone meth dealer who bungled one sale too many paid with his life, prosecutors said Tuesday, describing a deadly comeuppance in which he was pistol-whipped, driven into the countryside and executed by a trio of gunmen.
Lawrence Gloster II was shot 14 times, allegedly on the orders of Jorge "Bird" Galvan-Flores, prosecutor Brien Cecil told a jury Tuesday as Galvan-Flores' first-degree murder trial opened in 4th Judicial District Court.
"Bird - or The Bird, as he's also known - is the thread that ties all the elements of this case together," Cecil said during an opening statement that detailed players in a drug conspiracy. It also featured graphic pictures of Gloster's bullet-riddled body slumped inside an abandoned adobe ranch building just off U.S. 24 between Peyton and Calhan.
Galvan-Flores, 35, was one of three people arrested in the April 6, 2017, slaying, but his attorneys say he's little more than a patsy.
Public defender Kelly McCullough called her client a "fall guy" for the real killers, whom she identified as one of the others arrested plus two teenage assassins, including Galvan-Flores' teenage nephew. McCullough said evidence will show that the boy, now 16, managed to evade murder charges and emerge a star witness at his uncle's trial.
Gloster, 23, was an unlikely meth dealer in his own right, according to testimony Tuesday.
The son of a Florida anesthesiologist, he twice battled Hodgins lymphoma and became addicted to Fentanyl while undergoing stem cell treatment in Florida, his mother said on the stand.
She testified that her son learned about Colorado's medicinal marijuana scene from a high school teacher and moved here intending to get involved in the industry as a way to help others.
Instead, prosecutors say, he fell in with Galvan-Flores and began selling methamphetamine. Gloster also got hooked on meth, making him sloppy on the job. In what Cecil called "one mistake too many," Gloster fumbled nearly 11 grams into a woman's lap during a routine transaction - far more than she'd purchased - but didn't realize it.
Nor did his customer clue him in.
"She's thinking it's a gift from the gods," Cecil told the jury.
Gloster later realized his mistake and frantically called the woman asking for his "money back" - code for meth, authorities said. Then someone else started contacting her, demanding the drugs.
When the woman eventually agreed to give them back, a person she didn't recognize showed up for their meeting in a Waffle House parking lot near Powers and Galley boulevards.
"Are you The Bird?" she asked the man, identified by prosecutors as Anthony "Casper" Loya. "We're all The Bird," went his response.
After she gave back the meth, the stranger got back into a Dodge Neon and pulled away. Inside the Neon were Gloster and all three of his killers, and their next stop was the building where he was executed, authorities say.
On their drive east, Gloster was repeatedly hit with a pistol butt and made to remove his jacket and shoes, which were tossed out a window onto U.S. 24 and later recovered by authorities.
Most of the bullets fired into Gloster were from two .40-caliber pistols. One shot, believed to be from a .38-caliber pistol, hit his belt buckle.
Gloster's body was found two days later by the property owner, who took friends from out-of-state on a tour of his acreage. He testified that area high school students routinely use the buildings as a backdrop for graduation photos.
Loya is due for trial April 16, and the third defendant, Israel Jimenez-Roldan, is scheduled for trial May 14. Both are charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, among other counts.