GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The investigation into the murder of local father and prominent community member Randy Cook has ended.
Its end came much sooner than many would have liked, and without the criminal charges many were hoping for.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger stood in front of the media Wednesday afternoon and announced that he would not be filing criminal charges in the case of Randy Cook.
"I conclude that I am ethically, legally and statutorily prohibited from filing any criminal charges in this matter against the person responsible for the shooting," wrote Hautzinger in his decision letter to Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey.
In the letter, Hautzinger outlines the case he reviewed, including various text messages from the parties involved and even a video recording that captures the moments before Cook's death.
His notes indicate that the video shows various verbal and physical confrontations between Cook and Joe Hoskins, the owner of the house where the homicide took place. Hoskins is attributed to firing the gun that killed Cook, but is immune from criminal prosecution under the "Make My Day" law.
Colorado's "Make My Day" law protects an occupant of a dwelling from prosecution for using deadly physical force against another person if the other person has made an illegal entry into the dwelling and if the occupant reasonably believes the other person has committed or will commit any crime in the dwelling and the occupant reasonably believes the other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight.
Hautzinger notes that it makes no difference how offensive, insulting or juvenile the occupant has conduct himself, or how much the occupant has done to further inflame a given situation. It doesn't even matter if the occupant has committed other crimes, according to Hautzinger the law is much more black and white than many other areas of the law.
The decision is not made without remorse, though. Hautzinger regrets that many people will be dissatisfied with the decision, but he also believes he has an ethical obligation to uphold Colorado's laws to the best of his abilities.
"I am very sorry that Colorado's criminal justice system does not have an adequate way to address this tragic, travesty of a situation" Hautzinger finishes.
Cook's case was sealed by the courts as the investigation was ongoing and little information has been released since Cook's death on New Year's Day 2014.
Cook was found dead inside a home at 2846 Unaweep Avenue, a home that according to the Mesa County Assessor's Office is owned by Joe Hoskins.
Officials with the Mesa County Coroner's Office reported Cook died of a single gunshot wound to the chest and his death was ruled a homicide.
Cook was beloved by the Grand Junction community, and shortly after his death a cry for justice erupted from friends and family.
"I thought he was the best guy I've ever known he was my best friend for many years," said Jason Baca in a January 18th story. Baca was one of many people yearning for information regarding the investigation. As the wheels of justice turned slowly, frustration reared its ugly head.
"For us to start the healing process, we have to try and hopefully, eventually get some answers out of what is going on," said Darren Cook at a late-January vigil for his brother. "It is concerning that nobody's behind bars for this."