ALAMOSA– Attorney James Marshall IV, 27, appeared in court Wednesday where he pled not guilty to attempted second degree murder and six other charges in the June 4 shooting of Danny Pruitt, 49, during a protest in downtown Alamosa.
The jury trial date is set for March 22 and anticipated to last for 10 days. Attorneys were given 45 days to file motions with responses due 15 days after each motion is filed.
When asked for particulars of building a defense case in a shooting witnessed by numerous people on the scene, Randy Canney, the Salida attorney defending Marshall, states, “I don’t like to comment on any pending cases, but I anticipate that we’ll be endorsing a defense of another. There’s certainly evidence out there to support that.”
Canney is referring to the events that immediately preceded the shooting.
On the evening of June 4, a group of about a dozen protesters, including Marshall and his wife, Mariah Lorraine, assembled at the intersection of State Avenue and Main Street, calling for police accountability and racial justice in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by police. The group occupied the crosswalk during the red lights and then stepped to the curb when the lights turned green, allowing traffic to pass.
Just before 6 p.m., a man driving a Dodge Ram pickup pulled up to the red light and then reportedly accelerated into the crosswalk. A video of the scene shows protesters lurch out of the way.
It also shows one protester, a man later identified as James Marshall, pull a gun, later identified as a Glock, from his waistband and shoot into the back window of the truck, striking Pruitt in the back of the head. The truck comes to a stop in the intersection; Marshall retreats from the scene.
It was later discovered that Pruitt was able to drive roughly 12 blocks before coming to a stop where he was found, unconscious, by police. He was transported to San Luis Valley Health before being transferred to UC Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs in critical condition.
At 8:40 p.m. that evening, James Marshall was taken into custody by officers with the Alamosa Police Department at his home in Alamosa. The following day, Marshall was released from jail on $60,000 bond, posted by his wife. He and his wife reportedly left Alamosa immediately.
On June 15, Marshall was formally charged with attempted second-degree murder, first degree assault, reckless endangerment, felony menacing, criminal mischief, illegal discharge of a firearm and prohibited use of a weapon.
After the shooting, Pruitt spent the next several weeks in a coma in ICU. After regaining consciousness, Pruitt, who still had the 9mm bullet in his head, was released from the hospital on June 24 to live with his sister while recuperating.
Brian Quinn, an attorney with Metier Law representing Danny Pruitt, made the following statement on Pruitt's behalf. "Danny continues to deal with the effects of the shooting, but he feels very fortunate that he's been able to continue to take care of his daughter. He's also very thankful for the support and well wishes he's gotten from the people of Alamosa and surrounding communities."
Marshall was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on August 28 but waived the hearing with the date for an arraignment set for October 21.
It is not known at this time how Daniel Pruitt’s recovery is going despite several attempts to reach his attorney, personal injury lawyer Tom Metier, for a statement. District Attorney Robert Willett said he has been in contact with Pruitt and his attorney as is required under the Colorado Victim Rights Act but he “would not want to offer any thoughts on his medical condition.”
As far as Marshall, Canney reports that he’s “doing well. He’s a strong, good, young man. (He’s) someone I admire greatly.”
Willett, who is leaving office on January 11, will be handing over the case to his successor, Alonzo Payne, but has no further comment than that. “It is for him to determine how to handle all criminal cases in the 12th JD after my departure,” he states.
As far as the trial set for March 22, Randy Canney says, “We’re set out quite aways. A lot can happen in the meantime. Hopefully, the truth comes out and justice is done.”
Judge Gilbert Martinez, a former district judge with the 4th Judicial District, is presiding over the case.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier reports by Courier Publisher Keith R. Cerny and guest reporter Susan Greene contributed to this story.)