BY FREDA MIKLIN – GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On April 9, a jury in Arapahoe County District Court found Kenneth Gallegos, 19, guilty of the first-degree murder of Lloyd Chavez. Chavez was 18 years old, a student at Cherokee Trails High School in Centennial, and a star rugby player when he was murdered outside his home on May 8, 2019. According to statements from the trial, Gallegos was a student at Grandview High School at the time of the murder. He had formerly attended Cherokee Trails.
Since he was not yet 18 years old when he committed the crime, Gallegos faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Chavez lost his life when Gallegos, along with three other underage teens, came to Chavez’ house to buy vaping products from him. When they attempted to steal the $25 they had paid him, there was a scuffle and the gun went off. Chavez was still alive when sheriff’s deputies arrived and he named “Kenny” as the person who shot him. Chavez succumbed to his injuries at Parker Adventist Hospital.
After the verdict was handed down, 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner said, “This defendant planned this crime and carried it out. When the victim was bleeding on the ground, the defendant did nothing to help him. Lloyd Chavez was killed over vape juice pods, and his life is over because of this defendant. I am pleased that the jury came to this verdict in this case. It is hard to think of justice when a young man’s life was taken so violently, but I’m hopeful the victim’s family finds some measure of solace in this verdict.”
In addition to first degree murder, the jury found Gallegos guilty of aggravated robbery, a class three felony, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, a class four felony. The case was tried by 18th Judicial District Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Gallo and Deputy District Attorney Gwenn Sandrock.