Elbert County resident Shawn Edward Geerdes has pleaded not guilty to murder in the first degree and to eight other charges related to the slaying of a 44-year-old Parker resident, Jason Dosa, in September 2015.
Geerdes appeared with his two public defenders in Elbert County District Court in Kiowa on Feb. 22 and remained silent during the proceedings.
According to the complaint, Geerdes and Dosa were partners in a marijuana grow in a greenhouse just outside of the town of Agate. When the deal “fell apart,” Dosa allegedly made an early-morning visit to the greenhouse on Sept. 20 to claim a share of the grow, and authorities believe Geerdes shot Dosa at least five times with a .22-caliber firearm.
Dosa's body was discovered by Jefferson County sheriff's deputies responding to a car fire in a ravine near Deer Creek Canyon just before noon on Sept. 20. Once the blaze was extinguished by firefighters from the Inter-Canyon Fire Department, deputies found Dosa's charred remains in the trunk of the Nissan Maxima belonging to one of Dosa's friends.
Geerdes was arrested in Douglas County on Sept. 23 and originally charged in Jefferson County, but was later charged in Elbert County when the investigation indicated the slaying had occurred there.
In addition to first-degree murder, Geerdes was also charged with intentionally setting a wildfire, cultivating marijuana, second-degree arson, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and five counts of being a habitual criminal. The charge of cultivating marijuana was dismissed in November.
With the charge of first-degree murder, George H. Brauchler, the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, has 60 days from the date of the arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty for Geerdes.
The most recent defendant recommended for the death penalty in the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, was James Holmes who was convicted of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting last July. Holmes was not condemned to death, but was sentenced to 12 life sentences, plus 3,318 years in prison, essentially eliminating his eligibility for parole.
Geerdes was originally scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 11, but his defense team requested a delay, citing the need for more time to review a new discovery released by the prosecution the previous week.
Judge Jeffrey K. Holmes scheduled the trial to start June 13 at the Elbert County Courthouse in Kiowa. It is expected to last two weeks.