Holzer pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder, other charges

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Austin Holzer is accused in the shooting death of Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Geer in 2016.

He could face up to 70 years in prison and was initially charged with 1st-degree murder. Tuesday, Holzer pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder and 1st-degree assault with a violent crime charge.

For the District Attorney and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, the plea brings an end to a case a long time in the making.

"This has been over two years to experience what we just experienced in this courtroom," said Matt Lewis, Mesa County Sheriff.

Over two years ago, a day in February turned deadly when deputy Derek Geer was shot. A community came together to remember their hero with vigils and signs, and eventually put him to rest.

For Kate Geer, widow of Deputy Derek Geer, the day she found out her husband was shot was a blur. We spoke to her on the one-year anniversary of his death.

"I only remember bits and pieces of the day, to be honest," said Kate. "Honestly, it's pretty much been the hardest year of my life and my children's lives."

One word, one plea, in one courtroom, brought the more than two-year case to a close.

"Ultimately, this decision was 100 percent the decision of the family," said Dan Rubinstein, District Attorney.

The defense and the prosecution came to a plea late Monday night. Holzer is facing 70 years in prison, and will be eligible for parole about the time he turns 60.

Jury selection in the case had been underway since May 18.
Holzer was 17 when he was arrested in February of 2016, he is now 20-years-old and is being charged as an adult.

Sentencing will be a week from Tuesday.

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