Diplomatic hurdles delayed Aurora murder suspect’s Mexico extradition

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AURORA | Even after they got word that Javier Agurre was sitting in a jail in his native Mexico last spring, Adams County prosecutors weren’t certain he would ever stand trial in Colorado on murder charges.

“If Mexico wanted to, they would have said they weren’t going to let us have him back,” 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young said of the man accused of killing an Aurora apartment owner in 2010.

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Javier Aguirre

Young said he had to send a letter to the United States federal government pledging not to seek the death penalty against Agurre, and then he had to wait on word from Mexican officials that they would in fact send Agurre back to Colorado to stand trial on charges that he killed Lyndsay Pham in March 2010 at the Desconso apartments.

There was some angst as local prosecutors waited, Young said, knowing that the Mexican government had the option of trying Agurre there and having him serve his sentence there, too.

“You are at the mercy of another judicial system,” Young said.

But this fall prosecutors got word that Mexican authorities had signed off on Agurre’s extradition and on Oct. 2 he arrived in Adams County Jail, where he sits today awaiting trial on murder and robbery charges.

Police and prosecutors have said Agurre fled to his native Mexico a few months after the slaying and before police could obtain a warrant for his arrest.

Agurre is charged with first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree felony murder and two counts of aggravated robbery, prosecutors said.

Lupe Rubio, Agurre’s girlfriend at the time of the slaying, pleaded guilty in 2012 to helping Agurre plan the robbery and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Young said he had to send a letter to the United States federal government pledging not to seek the death penalty against Agurre, and then he had to wait on word from Mexican officials that they would in fact send Agurre back to Colorado to stand trial on charges that he killed Lyndsay Pham in March 2010 at the Desconso apartments.

At Rubio’s sentencing, prosecutors said she was the manager of the apartment complex and plotted the robbery with Agurre. Rubio’s lawyer said she wasn’t present when the crime happened and said she never planned for Pham to be killed, only for her to be robbed.

Rubio was charged with murder but after a jury failed to reach a verdict during her trial in 2011, prosecutors reached a plea agreement with her that stipulated she plead guilty to a conspiracy charge and be sentenced to between 10 and 25 years in prison.

Under the terms of that agreement, Rubio is required to testify against Agurre, her lawyer said.

Young said prosecutors would have always been frustrated had Agurre, the man police believe killed Pham and who Young called the “principal” in the case, had escaped justice, so his extradition was a somewhat a relief.