Michael Close, 37, shot dead Isabella Thallas, 21, and injured a Darian Simon, 27, in Denver on June 10
Close who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse had allegedly argued with the couple about picking up their dog’s poop outside his apt. complex, prior to the shooting
He allegedly fired 24 rounds of ammunition at the couple using an AK-47, which he allegedly took from the home of a Denver police Sgt, without permission
Close then fled the scene in his black Mercedes before purportedly texting a friend that he had ‘f**ked up’
He was later arrested during a traffic stop hours later, and charged with 15 counts, including first degree murder
Close is now pleading not guilty by reason of insanity
Isabella Thallas’ mother has blasted his plea, describing it as ‘disgusting’ – ‘He knew right from wrong. He admitted to what he did, he even showed a sense of remorse after he did it,’ Ana Thallas said
‘If someone knows right from wrong and that they screwed up, how is that insanity?’ she asked
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 entered the plea in Denver District Court on Monday. Close 37, is facing 15 counts including first-degree murder.
On June 10, 200, he 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. Close allegedly fired 24 rounds at the couple.
Thallas died at the scene, while Simon managed to survive the shooting despite being struck twice in the leg.
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.
Close appeared In court for trial in the tragic encounter in which 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, while Simon was injured,
Close appeared virtually for his arraignment from jail and spoke little during Monday’s appearance. Most of his face was hidden behind a mask.
He will now undergo a court-ordered examination of his sanity, in which experts will consider whether his mental state during the shooting qualifies him for an insanity defense.
If he is found 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 sane.
Thallas is She is survived by her parents, a sister and a younger brother. Incensed by the defense strategy, Ana Thallas Monday described the insanity plea by the man who shot her daughter 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?’
Ana Thallas was studying finance in college because it seemed a more stable career, her mother said.
“I’m speechless,” Ana Thallas said after Close’s insanity plea. “I’m brokenhearted. I just miss Bella.”
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.
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, 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.
One of the shooter’s friends later 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.
Close fled after the shooting and was arrested by Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies during a traffic stop off U.S. 285 hours after the attack.
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.
Incidentally, the murder weapon belongs to a Denver police sergeant’s AK-47 rifle was used in a fatal shooting.
Michael Close allegedly, took the AK-47 rifle from the home of his friend Sgt. Dan Politica, without the officer’s knowledge or permission, a Denver Police Department spokesman said at the time.
The rifle was not issued to the officer by the department but was his personal gun.
“Upon learning his rifle was missing and that it may have been used in this homicide, the officer notified investigators that the rifle belonged to him,” the spokesman said. The police department did not open an internal affairs case about Politica’s missing gun after an initial review because there was no evidence Politica broke department policy,
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 due back in court on May 10, and his trial was set to start Sept. 8.