Trial of former officer charged with teen’s murder goes to jury

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Adam Holen is on trial for the murder of 17-year-old Peyton Blitstein in 2021.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The case of a former Greenwood Village police officer who shot and killed a 17-year-old the night before Thanksgiving in 2021 is in the hands of a jury.

Lawyers on Friday afternoon wrapped up their arguments in the case against Adam Holen.

Police said Holen killed Peyton Blitstein after an argument over careless driving in a neighborhood in Aurora. The jury has to decide whether Holen shot Blitstein in self-defense or if he was the aggressor.

Holen faces charges of second-degree murder and menacing.

Prosecutors said Holen pulled out his gun before getting out of his truck and pointed it at one of Blitstein’s friends. The prosecution said that friend told this to Blitstein before the shooting and then to detectives in an interview after Holen shot Blitstein.

The prosecution argued Holen was the initial aggressor because he initiated physical contact. 

“He makes the choice to get out of his car and confront high school students,” the prosecution said in closings.

The prosecution said Holen had a gun in his hand when he walked to the teens. They cited comments Holen made to officers on scene such as, “I knew s*** was about to go down and I had my pistol at the low ready.”

Holen’s defense said a Ring doorbell camera contradicts the prosecution’s argument that Holen had a gun when he rounded the truck. The defense said he only pulled out a gun outside the truck when he saw Blitstein had a gun — and that he fired in self defense.

“He didn’t shoot when he saw a gun because he didn’t want to,” his defense attorney said in closings. “He didn’t shoot until he was shot.”

His defense team said he did not show aggression but instead the kids were yelling and using profanity during the argument. They acknowledged the argument was petty and immature but Holen did not provoke some kind of fight.

The defense said there is no evidence Blitstein’s friend saw Holen with a gun while he was still in the truck. According to Holen’s lawyer during closing arguments, the statements from the kids to police about seeing a gun are contradictory and purely speculation. 

The jury didn’t return a verdict on Friday. They will return for deliberations on Tuesday. 

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Trial of former officer charged with teen’s murder goes to jury

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