Murder suspect Daniel Ortiz walks into a Boulder courtroom Thursday.
Nathaniel Tallman (Courtesy photo)
The two remaining murder suspects in the death of Nathaniel Tallman, of Lafayette, are set for a joint three-week trial in April on murder charges.
Both Daniel Ortiz, 38, and Moises Mendez, 26, are charged with first-degree murder, robbery and aggravated motor-vehicle theft and are set to stand trial April 13 after entering pleas of not guilty in Boulder District Court on Thursday morning.
Boulder prosecutors made a request in court that Ortiz and Mendez’s cases be joined into one trial, and Boulder District Judge Andrew Macdonald granted the motion over the objection of defense attorneys for both suspects.
Both Ortiz and Mendez appeared at the hearing in custody.
The third suspect in the case, Russell Britton, 58, has already pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Britton originally was charged with first-degree murder, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute 5 to 100 pounds, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute 5 to 50 pounds, in addition to the accessory and robbery charges. Those charges were dismissed under the plea deal.
The body of Tallman, 25, was found March 13 along U.S. 85 north of Lusk, Wyo., after he went missing Jan. 21.
Investigators said Britton claimed the day after the body was found that he had been preparing to meet Tallman for a marijuana transaction at his Berthoud home at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 when Mendez and Ortiz drove up in separate vehicles, with Mendez driving Tallman’s car.
Britton told investigators Ortiz had what appeared to be a body wrapped in a tarp in his truck and that Ortiz and Mendez told him to get rid of the body. Britton told police he then drove to North Dakota and dumped the body along the way.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329, [email protected] or twitter.com/mitchellbyars.
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