Judge delays first criminal trial in Elijah McClain’s death over objections of prosecutors

Jun 1, 2023, 5:59 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm

DENVER (AP) — A judge agreed Thursday to delay the first criminal trial in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after being stopped by police in a Denver suburb, forcibly restrained and injected with a powerful sedative nearly four years ago.

Lawyers for the two officers previously scheduled to go on trial July 10 had asked for more time, saying they could not mount a proper defense because prosecutors have not spelled out what actions by their clients allegedly led to McClain’s injuries, or whether they are accused of being directly responsible for his death or considered complicit in other defendants’ actions.

The defense attorneys said that prevented them from lining up the appropriate witnesses to testify at the joint trial for Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jason Slothouber had objected to a delay, saying the defense has had 20 months to prepare.

Judge Mark Warner ruled that prosecutors must provide more information about two of the charges the men face, but the indictment otherwise provides enough information about the allegations. He did not set a new court date yet but said he would not want it to go past October.

Two paramedics, Jeremy Cooper and Lt. Peter Cichuniec, are currently scheduled to go on trial separately in August, while a third police officer, Nathan Woodyard, is set to be tried in September.

All five have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, criminally negligent reckless homicide and other charges.

Police stopped McClain in 2019 while he was walking down a street in the city of Aurora after a 911 caller reported a man who seemed “sketchy.” McClain, a massage therapist, was unarmed and had not been accused of committing any crime.

The encounter with police quickly escalated, with officers taking him to the ground and putting him in a neck hold. Paramedics arrived and injected him with ketamine.

The officers and the paramedics were indicted by a state grand jury in 2021.

The local prosecutor had declined to prosecute them soon after McClain’s death, mainly because an original autopsy report did not reach a conclusion on how he died.

An amended autopsy report released last year, after the coroner’s office received some grand jury materials, concluded that McClain died because he was injected with a powerful sedative after being forcibly restrained.

Dr. Stephen Cina, a pathologist who works for the coroner’s office and wrote both reports, said in the latter one that McClain most likely would have survived “but for the administration of ketamine,” though he still listed the cause of death as undetermined rather than a homicide.

United States News

Tupac Shakur, left, and Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight attend a voter registration ...

Associated Press

Witness charged with murder in 1996 shooting death of rapper Tupac Shakur

One of the last living witnesses to the fatal drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas was charged with murder Friday in the 1996 killing.

31 minutes ago

Associated Press

A child sex abuse suspect kills himself after wounding marshals trying to arrest him, police say

IRMO, S.C. (AP) — A man wanted by police for child sex abuse crimes shot and killed himself Friday after wounding two federal marshals trying to arrest him at a South Carolina hotel, investigators said. A special team of U.S. Marshals was trying to arrest George Curtis at an extended stay hotel near Columbia when […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Baltimore Archdiocese says it will file for bankruptcy before new law on abuse lawsuits takes effect

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Friday that it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization days before a new state law goes into effect removing the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges and allowing victims to sue their abusers decades after the fact. The step will “allow the archdiocese to equitably compensate […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Jeffrey Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division...

Associated Press

Ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark can’t move Georgia case to federal court, a judge says

ATLANTA (AP) — A judge on Friday rejected a request by former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to move the Georgia election subversion charges against him from state court to federal court. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said he was making no ruling on the merits of the charges against Clark, but he concluded that […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Navy to start random testing of SEALs, special warfare troops for performance-enhancing drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted. Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Iowa book ban prompts disclaimers on Little Free Library exchanges

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State restrictions on books that can be made available to Iowa students have prompted some Des Moines-area school districts to post disclaimers on Little Free Libraries. Earlier this year the Iowa Legislature approved a law that bans books that describe sex acts from libraries and classrooms, forcing school districts […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

Judge delays first criminal trial in Elijah McClain’s death over objections of prosecutors