Ambush homicide or self-defense? Attorneys paint totally different photos of killing of Adams County sheriff’s deputy


Dreion Dearing fired seven photographs whereas fleeing from Adams County sheriff’s deputies on a January night time in 2018, and two of these bullets struck and killed Deputy Heath Gumm, prosecutors and protection attorneys agreed through the opening statements of Dearing’s homicide trial Monday.
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostA image of Adams County Deputy Sheriff Heath Gumm hangs on a window throughout a memorial service on the Adams County Sheriff’s Workplace substation to mark the yr anniversary of his loss of life on Jan. 24, 2019, in Commerce Metropolis.
However how and why Dearing fired these photographs is disputed.
Seventeenth Judicial District Lawyer Dave Younger argued to the jury that Dearing deliberately ambushed Gumm, hiding and ready for the suitable second to kill the 31-year-old deputy.
Joseph Archambault, chief trial deputy with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Workplace, argued that Dearing, now 24, fired in self-defense after Gumm first shot at him.
“Mr. Dearing by no means had the intent, he by no means acted with deliberation, all he ever did was fireplace again wildly, on the bottom, to avoid wasting his personal life,” Archambault mentioned.
“This isn’t a case about self-defense,” Younger mentioned. “This can be a case the place Mr. Dearing was mendacity in wait, hiding, ready for that chance and making a option to level his .45-caliber handgun at Deputy Gumm and pull that set off seven instances.”
Each side pointed to ample bodily proof within the case, starting from snowy footprints and DNA to shell casings and bullet holes, as supporting their arguments. Younger acknowledged that Gumm and a second deputy fired their weapons that night time.
Dearing is charged with first-degree homicide in Gumm’s killing on Jan. 24, 2018. That night time, Dearing and three members of the family went to the house of a former trainer on the Denver Faculty of Innovation and Sustainable Design who had sexually assaulted one in every of his college students — Dearing’s cousin — for years, starting when the woman was 15 and the trainer was 25.
Gumm was one in every of a number of deputies who responded to a number of 911 calls about an assault on the trainer’s dwelling, and he was looking the neighborhood for suspects when he and one other deputy came across Dearing, whose clothes matched the outline of the suspects within the assault on the trainer’s home.
Dearing ran from the deputies, they usually chased him by snowy yards and over fences. Younger mentioned the deputies overlooked Dearing earlier than he opened fireplace on Gumm; Archambault mentioned Gumm fired the primary photographs at Dearing, and Dearing returned fireplace in a panic.

Solely about 30 seconds handed from the time Gumm first contacted Dearing to the moments the photographs had been fired, Archambault instructed the jury.
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After the capturing, Dearing stored operating and hid in a close-by tree home. Officers tracked his footprints to that tree home and arrested him with using a police canine, who bit Dearing twice. Archambault argued to the jury that the authorities who investigated, arrested and charged Dearing — together with Younger — had been centered on avenging their slain colleague, and within the course of overcharged Dearing.
Younger described Dearing as a determined and violent felony who was stranded in a neighborhood the place he didn’t need to be after he left his automotive keys contained in the trainer’s condo through the assault.
“That’s the rationale why Deputy Gumm is gone,” Younger mentioned. “(Dearing) had nowhere to go.”
The trial, which was delayed seven months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is anticipated to final a number of weeks. Dearing faces life in jail if convicted.


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