In Colorado Springs, there are at least 108 unsolved cases dating back to 1949 that have surpassed the one-year investigative grace period, designating them as "cold." Someone, somewhere has the answers that could crack these cases wide open. Detectives are eager for those individuals to step forward.
Listen in as we examine these Colorado cold cases.
Justice for Tommy Kinslow
Saturday, January 14, 2006 - Colorado Springs Gazette - Page METRO2, Column 2 - By Bobbi Sankey
Tip turns up suspect in November shooting
Video-store worker was killed near townhome
An anonymous Crime Stoppers tip a week ago led police to a suspect in the November killing of a 20-years-old man shot to death in the middle of Constitution Avenue.
Gabriel Urich Gonzales, 18, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Thomas Kinslow, who was found shot to death near his townhome on Constitution Avenue on November 22.
“The caller named the shooter,” said Colorado Springs Police Sergeant Sal Fiorillo.
Fiorillo said Gonzales was arrested at his workplace shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. He would not disclose where Gonzales worked or any more details about the Crime Stoppers tip because the case still is being investigated.
Gonzales, who was being held at the El Paso County Jail Friday, has no prior criminal records in Colorado, according to court records.
In December, Kinslow’s parents offered a $3,000 reward to try and find their son’s killer, in addition to the $2,000 Crime Stoppers offers for tips that lead to arrests in homicides.
The night of the shooting, Kinslow left his job at Hollywood Video on Academy Boulevard near La Salle Street around 1:40 a.m., drove less than a half-mile home and parked his car just off Constitution Avenue.
A neighbor made a 911 call when she heard several gunshots outside her home around 1:45 a.m. Kinslow was shot several times just yards from the townhome he shared with his parents.
Fiorillo said police had few leads in Kinslow’s shooting before receiving the tip.
He said police probably wouldn’t have been able to make an arrest Friday without the information.
“We try and evaluate tips to see if they’re reliable, and in this particular case, we were able to make an arrest,” Fiorillo said.
Friday, February 24, 2006 - Colorado Springs Gazette - Page METRO1, Column 1 - By R. Scott Rappold
Shooting suspect held after allegedly bragging of gun
Gabriel Gonzales was proud of his gun and, according to police and prosecutors, he bragged about using it.
Based on what he said to friends about the November 22 shooting death of Thomas Kinslow, a judge Thursday held 18- year-old Gonzales over for trial on first-degree murder -- despite lacking evidence or a murder weapon and despite an eyewitness’s claim that Gonzales wasn’t the shooter.
“This is what we’d call a classic circumstantial case, and this is how some homicides are solved,” said prosecutor Robin Chittum of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “If I could tell you the full story I would, but I can’t. But the defendant sure told quite a story to his friends.”
Kinslow, 20, was shot to death on Constitution Avenue after parking his car after driving home from his job at Hollywood Video around 1:45 a.m. He did not know Gonzales.
Thursday’s preliminary hearing was the first time details of the case have been made public, after Chief District Judge Gilbert Martinez last month ordered the case sealed to protect an ongoing investigation.
According to testimony from Colorado Springs police detectives, investigators were stumped for months by the killing.
Witnesses saw two men fighting -- one holding a stick, the other holding a gun. They saw Kinslow get hit, try to run and fall to his knees, and the gunman fire two more shots from behind. But nobody could identify the killer.
A tip to Crime Stoppers in early January led detectives to Gonzales, who first denied having a gun but later said he fired off some rounds in the field across from his apartment that night, according to testimony.
His attorneys claim that’s all he did and that he initially lied to detectives because he thought he’d be arrested for having the gun.
“What we’ve got is a scared 18-year-old who screwed up by firing a couple shots in a field,” said defense attorney Jack Schwartz.
Forensics tests showed the pistol recovered from his home wasn’t used to kill Kinslow. Chittum claimed he had another gun, though none has been found.
Through interviews with friends of Gonzales, investigators learned he called some friends the night of the killing and said he had shot someone, detectives testified.
Detectives also testified that other friends told them Gonzales had admitted to getting in a fight with someone and shooting him, though others said he claimed he only went outside to fire the gun. One person told detectives she saw a bloody shirt at the house of a friend, who claimed it belonged to Gonzales. The mother of a friend told detectives she overheard him saying “pop pop pop - I don’t know if I hit anybody.
Defense attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the case. Schwartz said it didn’t make sense for Gonzales to walk 1.8 miles in 20-degree weather to get in a fight with a stranger. He also noted that one driver in the area, described by a detective as a good witness, claimed Gonzales was too small to be the shooter.
Martinez, though, ruled that the statements to police from 10 different people about Gonzales’s admissions were enough to establish probable cause to hold the case over for trial.
Gonzales remains in county jail without bail. No trial date has been set.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - Colorado Springs Gazette - Page METRO1, Column 1 - Anslee Willett
Murder charges dropped as no DNA match is made
First-degree murder charges were dropped Tuesday against a 19-year-old man arrested in the killing of a man whose body was found in the middle of Constitution Avenue last year.
The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office requested the charges against Gabriel Uriah Gonzales be dismissed primarily because DNA evidence wasn’t a match to the suspect.
“This is not necessarily a statement of innocence,” district attorney spokeswoman Lisa Kirkman said. “It’s a statement of we don’t have enough evidence.”
Twenty-year-old Tommy Kinslow was shot to death about 1:45 a.m. November 22 on Constitution Avenue east of Academy Boulevard -- just yards form the townhouse he shared with his parents.
His mom grew worried when she awoke and he wasn’t home from work yet. When she looked out her bedroom window, she saw police standing by her son’s body.
Several weeks later, Gonzales, of Colorado Springs, was arrested after a tipster called Crime Stoppers saying Gonzales had bragged of doing the shooting.
DNA testing done since the arrest doesn’t the arrest doesn’t link Gonzales to the scene.
DNA found on shell casings at the scene and in blood on Kinslow’s sweat shirt didn’t match Gonzales or the victim, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Prosecutors also submitted DNA samples from nine people either linked to Gonzales the day of the shooting or who were believed to be at the scene. None matched the DNA recovered at the scene.
“With these results, they certainly create reasonable doubt, your honor,” prosecutor Robin Chittum told Chief District Judge Gilbert Martinez during Tuesday’s brief court hearing.
Also cited for dismissing charges was that “a key prosecution witness” who was to testify about Gonzales’ alleged confession died in June after an all-terrain vehicle crash.
Prosecutors felt they had “no reasonable expectation of conviction at trial,” according to the request to dismiss.
Kinslow’s family agreed with the decision to drop charges, his mother said in a written statement released Tuesday.
“We want the person who killed our son to be held accountable. We also don’t want a possibly innocent person to go to prison,” she said.
“We know that additional investigation must be completed. This is not a situation where we will never know who killed our son. There is DNA evidence. It is just a matter of time -- a match will occur.”
Minutes before Kinslow was killed, he’d left work at Hollywood Video on Academy Boulevard near La Salle Street about 1:40 a.m. after staying late to stock new movies. He drove less than half a mile home, where he parked and locked his car just a few feet from Constitution Avenue.
Witnesses saw two men fighting -- one holding a stick, the other holding a gun. They saw Kinslow get shot, try to run, and fall to his knees, and the gunman fired two more shots from behind. But nobody could identify the killer.
A tip to Crime Stoppers in January led police to Gonzales, who first denied having a gun but later said he fired off some rounds in the field across from his apartment that night.
In February, Gonzales was ordered to stand trial on a first-degree murder charge after the judge heard evidence that Gonzales had told at least 10 people he was the shooter.
Gonzales’ gun, recovered at his grandmother’s home where he was living, was not the gun used to kill Kinslow, and he denied having anything to do with Kinslow’s death.
After Martinez dismissed the charges, Gonzales’ family wrapped their arms around him. Kinslow’s aunt and two of his friends sat and watched.
Gonzales, who had been free on bond, quickly left the courthouse without commenting.
Colorado Springs Police Detective Terry Lantz declined to say whether Gonzales remains a suspect.
“This is an ongoing investigation, so it’s difficult to name suspects at this time,” he said after the hearing.
If additional evidence surfaces against Gonzales, charges could be refiled, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Gonzales’ mother, Aimee, said Tuesday she hopes her family can put the ordeal behind them.
“Anybody who knows Gabriel, his personality has changed a great deal since this,” she said. “I think that it’s been quite a lot to endure for anybody. I think there were victims in this case other than just the one that’s been named constantly. He was the obvious victim, but I think others have been victimized through this.”
Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Colorado Springs Gazette – Page B3, Column 1 – By Lisa Walton
Cold case information lands on back of taxi
Mom finds a new way to solicit leads
It has been almost nine years since 20-year-old Tommy Kinslow was gunned down in front of his Colorado Springs home on Constitution Avenue.
With on one in custody, no suspect and no leads, the case has gone cold. Pam Kinslow, mother of the slain college student, is working to change that.
"When it’s been this long, you just reach for ways to get leads. Anything you can think of you try and do,” she said. A billboard on the back of taxi cab struck her as a way to put the case back in the public eye, so she called the local Yellow Cab company.
After hearing her story, the company offered to donate a spot on the back of a cab if she could provide the sign. The company referred her to the Signshop for the billboard, which also was donated.
“I wasn’t expecting that. Companies are out to make money, and these two companies went beyond generosity to do this for us,” she said.
Kristi Maucher, Yellow Cab director of marketing, has been with the company for four years and doesn’t recall a time that a billboard was donated for a cold case.
“My general manager and I, Fred Hair, we just really wanted to do something nice for her, because it’s been so many years,” Maucher said.
“It was a great way for her to get the message out,” she said. “We hope she gets some response for it.” On its website, Yellow Cab attests to the effectiveness of billboard advertising.
“On an average day, a taxicab travels approximately 200 miles throughout our service area. That allows thousands of motorists and pedestrians to see and read your advertisement at eye level and for a much longer period of time that a stationary billboard,” the website says.
The billboard will have two pictures of the slain 20-year-old, along with information about the November 22, 2005, killing, an d a number to contact the Police Department. It will remain on a cab through November.
Pam Kinslow is optimistic.
She told cold case Detective Mike Montez to “be prepared for all the phone calls,” she said, with a laugh. Tommy Kinslow, a Harrison High School graduate, was enrolled at Pikes Peak Community College when he was killed. He wanted to be a math teacher, she said.
About a year after the shooting, police arrested a man who allegedly confessed to the killing. But charges were dropped when DNA didn’t link him to the crime, authorities said.
“From what he put together, there was a fight when he got home. It ended up in the street, and then he was shot multiple times,” Kinslow said.
He was shot about four minutes after he clocked out from work at the Hollywood Video store where he worked as a shift manager, his mother said. The store was down the street from his home.
Something had stirred her from sleep in the early morning hours of November 22, she said. “I know now, it was gunshots.” She remembers looking outside the window and seeing her son lying in the street.
Months before the killing, several cars had been broken into in the neighborhood. Someone had tried to break into Tommy’s too, Kinslow said.
She wonders if he might have confronted a thief the night he died.
“He would never start a fight, but if he saw something like that, he would have stepped in and tried to stop it,” she said.