Michael Close – who has been charged with 15 counts including first-degree murder – entered the plea in Denver District Court on Monday
A Colorado man who shot dead a woman and injured her boyfriend after getting into an argument about dog poop has pleaded not guilty to the crime by ‘by reason of insanity’.
Michael Close – who has been charged with 15 counts including first-degree murder – entered the plea in Denver District Court on Monday.
On June 10 of last year, the 37-year-old opened fire on Isabella Thallas, 21, and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, 27, with an AK-47 from the window of his apartment.
The shooting occurred after Close and Simon had argued over the latter’s dog defecating in a rock garden outside the suspect’s apartment complex.
Thallas died at the scene, while Simon managed to survive the shooting despite being struck twice in the leg.
Close allegedly fired 24 rounds at the couple.
According to The Denver Post, Close will now be examined by several psychiatrists who will determine whether he whether he was insane at the time of the shooting.
Isabella Thallas, 21, and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, 27, were both shot with an AK-47 while out walking their dog in Denver last June. Thallas died at the scene, Simon was injured
Authorities say the dispute between Close and the couple was over Simon’s dog pooping in the area
The publication claims that if Close is not guilty by reason of insanity at trial ‘he will be committed to a mental health facility for treatment, rather than to prison, and could eventually be released if he is later found to be of sound mind’.
Ana Thallas, Isabella’s mother, said Monday the insanity plea is ‘absolutely disgusting.’
‘I’m so furious… What upsets me the most is the fact he knew right from wrong. He admitted to what he did, he even showed a sense of remorse after he did it… If someone knows right from wrong and that they screwed up, how is that insanity?’
On the day of the shooting, Close is said to have opened his window and shouted: ‘Are you going to train that f**king dog or just yell at it?’
Neighborhood surveillance video showed Close opened his blinds and pointed the rifle at the pair as Simon bent over to pick up the pooch’s poop.
Thallus was killed almost instantly when Close opened fire on the pair.
He then fled the scene in his black Mercedes SUV.
Thallas was pronounced dead at the scene. She is survived by her parents, a sister and a younger brother
Thallas’ mom, Ana, told The Denver Post that the insanity was ‘absolutely disgusting’. The pair are pictured together at Isabella’s graduation
Police arriving on the scene spoke with a woman named Chelsea Thompson, who identified herself as Close’s girlfriend.
Thompson told police that her boyfriend ‘was not mentally stable and had not been the entire time she knew him,’ the detective shared.
Thompson claimed that Close was diagnosed with personality disorder and depression but was never treated for either.
She detailed Close’s history with drug abuse, as well, including excessive usage of cocaine, molly, mushrooms, ecstasy and ketamine.
Thompson also shared that Close had resumed drinking after three years of sobriety.
A search warrant executed inside Close’s apartment found several open containers of alcohol, cocaine residue and six shell casings, Trujillo shared. Another 18 shells were found outside the apartment window.
Police recovered an assault-style weapon, a Glock 17 and a shotgun from the home, in addition to loads of ammunition and high capacity magazines that can hold more than 15 bullets – illegal in the state of Colorado.
A friend of Close told police that the suspect texted him moments after the shooting to say ‘Dude, I f**ked up really f**king bad, there’s no going back from this now.’
That same friend told authorities that he planned to take Close to see a therapist on the day of the shooting after he told him that he had been sexually abused as a child by his biological parents.
Boyfriend Darian Simon (pictured with his mother) suffered gunshot wounds to the leg
Another friend told police that Close told him via text that he ‘just snapped.’ Close apparently told this friend that he had spent some time in a mental institution at the age of 12.
Close had lost his job in the pandemic and had been unable to go to the gym, which was said to have been extremely important to him.
Close has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, nine counts of using a prohibited high-capacity magazine during a crime, two counts of prohibited use of a firearm, one count of disorderly conduct and four sentence enhancers for violent crime.
He is now due back in court on May 10.