Diego Chacon of Colorado Springs pleaded guilty on Monday to his role in the brutal murder of two Coronado High School students.
The 20-year-old Chacon admitted his responsibility for the deaths of Natalie Cano-Partida (16 years old) and Derek Greer (15 years old). Chacon made the plea deal to avoid possibly getting the death penalty. His deal includes a 65-year prison sentence. However, the deal does not require him to testify against the other alleged shooter.
Chacon and another shooter, 22-year-old Marco Garcia Bravo, allegedly abducted the two teens at gunpoint. They drove them to an abandoned field outside Fountain in El Paso County and shot them at point-blank range, execution style. Chacon and Garcia-Bravo apparently targeted the two young people due to suspicions that Cano-Partida was working with a rival gang.
Chacon admitted that he shot Partida. He says he then gave the gun to “another individual,” who he did not name. That second shooter shot Greer in order to eliminate Greer as a witness.
Garcia-Bravo and Chacon are actually among ten people in an alleged conspiracy who prosecutors have charged. The conspiracy ended in the March 2017 abduction and killing at close range of Greer and Cano-Partida. Prosecutors have charged five people with first-degree murder in the case. Two out of the five cut plea deals.
Only six months earlier, Diego Chacon had told the Colorado Springs Police Department’s gang unit that we wanted out of the South Side Soldados gang life. However, Police Chief Pete Carey suddenly disbanded the gang unit in September 2016 to fight a staffing shortage. Because of the reorganization, no one was assigned to check up on over 700 gang members, including Chacon.
An officer called the events pertaining to Chacon after the disbandment of the gang unit “a bummer,” and wondered if the gang unit might have been able to aid Chacon in getting out of the Soldados, had they not been disbanded.