CENTENNIAL, COLORADO 01/17/2015– According to the District Attorney George Brauchler of the 18th Judicial District on Jan. 16, 2015, an Arapahoe County jury convicted Jemal Abdelkader Dawed, 39 of Aurora, of the Vehicular Homicide of Littleton Police Department Officer Kevin Wayne Denner (2013CR1015 – Arapahoe County).
The jury found the defendant guilty of Vehicular Homicide – DUI (F3), Vehicular Homicide – Reckless Driving (F4), Driving Under The Influence, Driving Under The Influence Per Se, Fail To Yield Right Of Way/left Turn. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours.
On May 6, 2013, at East Belleview Avenue and South DeGaulle Street in Aurora, the defendant was driving a Gold Toyota Solara when he struck Officer Denner, who was riding his 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle at the time.
Officer Denner was traveling west on E. Belleview Avenue. The only stop signs at the intersection are for north and southbound traffic on South DeGaulle. The defendant, traveling east on E. Belleview Avenue, failed to yield to oncoming traffic by making a left turn directly in front of Officer Denner.
The defendant never braked, ran over the victim with studded snow tires and dragged him 21 feet away from the area of impact. The defendant’s car was found half of a block north of the intersection.
The Aurora Police Department responded to the scene and officers smelled alcohol on the defendant. They administered roadside tests and the defendant failed them. A blood draw of the defendant was taken two hours after the incident, and showed a BAC of 0.091. The legal limit is 0.080.
Officer Denner’s cause of death was a severe craniocerebral trauma due to blunt force impact of the head. He also suffered injuries to the trunk of his body, right front and left rib cage. He also had lacerations and contusions to his lungs and spleen. A detective who attended the autopsy later stated that there were markings on Officer Denner’s chin, consistent with an individual who was wearing a helmet.
Officer Denner was not on-duty at the time of the incident.
District Attorney George Brauchler stated: “There is no appropriate time to drive drunk on our roads. Jemal Dawed’s decision to drive well in excess of Colorado’s legal limit led him to rob us of a dedicated law enforcement officer and a loving husband and father. While those things can never be made right again, the jury today gave some modicum of justice to a grieving widow by assigning responsibility for her husband’s untimely death to the drunk driver – the person who put his interest in driving ahead of the safety of those on the road with him. We must aggressively attack drunk driving in Colorado.”
Deputy District Attorneys Brittany Martin and Jake Adkins prosecuted this case.
Deputy District Attorney Martin stated: “The defendant made the decision to drive drunk and due to that, Office Kevin Denner paid the ultimate price. With today’s verdict, the Arapahoe County jury gave justice to the victim and his family, friends and colleagues. No amount of prison time will bring back Officer Denner, but his legacy of service and care for our community will far outlast any solution the justice system can give.”
Deputy District Attorney Adkins stated: “I’d like to commend the jurors for holding the defendant accountable for his actions and finding him guilty of all charges. There were many attempts made to blame Officer Denner for his death, but the jury saw right past all of them. We’re hopeful that with this verdict, the victims in this case can feel some sense of justice.”
The defendant’s sentencing will be on March 31, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the Arapahoe County Justice Center. Judge Donald W. Marshall Jr. presided over the jury trial.