A Colorado Springs man found shot to death on the city’s east side in December was killed when a plot to rob him went awry, prosecutors alleged Thursday at a hearing for two people they say were involved.
Prosecutors alleged that Savino Benjamin Anceno, 20, and Saphire Lee Nicks, 22, intended to steal a car and a gun from Nicholas Gabriel Romero, 32, when he was shot Dec. 8 outside the Windmill Apartments in the 4000 block of Lacy Lane.
Witnesses reported seeing a man and a woman fleeing the parking lot with a third person moments after the deadly shot was fired.
Police say they fled empty-handed. Responding officers found a pistol on the ground next to Romero’s body, and a Honda Civic was parked and still running beside him. The gun and car had been reported stolen.
Anceno and Nicks are charged with first-degree murder under Colorado’s felony murder rule, which applies when someone dies during the commission of a felony.
Both are charged with aggravated robbery, and Anceno has an additional count of second-degree murder, alleging that the crime could have occurred in the heat of the moment. Nicks is awaiting trial in four other felony cases, including on charges of drug possession and identity theft. At the time of Romero’s death, Anceno was serving a three-year probation after pleading guilty in April 2018 to menacing in a 2017 confrontation in Colorado Springs.
Defense attorneys probed at indications that someone else could have been involved, while Nicks’ attorney suggested claims against her were concocted by “jailhouse snitches.”
A judge is expected to determine whether Anceno and Nicks will be held for trial when the hearing concludes Friday.
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