Police say 24-year-old Esequiel Padilla-Villalobos called 911 just before midnight on Dec. 23 and told the operator he just killed someone and wanted to turn himself in.
When police arrived, Padilla-Villalobos told them they could find the body in the 8600 block of Verbena Street in Commerce City.
The victim was 14-year-old Gaby Acosta, the younger sister of Padilla-Villalobos' girlfriend. His girlfriend has asked Padilla-Villalobos to give the girl a ride, when court documents say he began thinking "bad thoughts" about killing.
He told police he first tried to strangle and then stabbed the girl with a kitchen knife he had used to cut vegetables days earlier.
Padilla-Villalobos faces counts of first-degree murder, felony murder, and five counts of sexual assault for the attack.
Police say he told them he was high on cocaine and had consumed a dozen or more beers prior to killing the girl.
On Friday, an Adams County judge advised him through a Spanish interpreter that the case is eligible for the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The judge also gave prosecutors permission to collect DNA and hair samples from the defendant.
Padilla did not make eye contact with his family and friends, nor those of the victim. He had a vacant expression and seemed to be looking off in the distance during the hearing.
Defense attorneys complained that other law enforcement agencies were attempting to contact their client about other alleged offenses.
Our partners at the Denver Post have reported that US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is interested in deporting the man to Mexico should he be released.
A preliminary hearing in the case was set for March 8.
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