Antonio Simpson charged in Denver shooting death of John Martinez

Denver prosecutors have charged a man with first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault after they allege he fatally shot another man in the back of the head last month and shot a woman in the leg.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced the charges against Antonio Simpson, 34, in the shooting death of John Martinez, 46, and the shooting injury of a woman.

At about 6:15 p.m. on May 20, Denver police officers were called to an apartment near Eighth Avenue and Cherry Street, where they found the woman shot in the leg and Martinez in a bedroom dead with a gunshot to the back of his head, according to the affidavit and arrest warrant application filed in the case.

While officers were checking on Martinez, they noticed an “AR-style” handgun on the floor near where it appeared Martinez had been sitting. Martinez was wearing latex gloves, and a small scale with residue was on the desk. “Suspected crystal powder” and “small blue round pills” were also found in the room, according to the affidavit.

In a police interview after the shooting, the female victim said Martinez arrived at her apartment with another woman she didn’t know and a man she knew by a name, which was redacted in the affidavit. According to police, the man was later identified to be Simpson based on fingerprints found in Martinez’s car.

She told officers she saw Martinez handling a “big” gun, then she went to lie down on the couch because she wasn’t feeling well. She fell asleep, then woke up to a loud pop and her leg burning, according to the police records.

She heard Martinez say, “Dude, what the (expletive),” then two more pops, according to the document.

The woman told police Martinez had been a drug dealer and got back into dealing after receiving a large sum of money in a lawsuit settlement. She said Martinez and Simpson were planning on doing a gun trade later in the day. Simpson has a handgun “like a police officer would carry” that was painted red, according to the affidavit.

At some point, she said, Martinez apparently decided not to do the gun trade, but they stayed at the apartment for a while. Martinez and Simpson were drinking and smoking crack prior to the shooting, the witness told police.

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