A 37-year-old Colorado man accused of fatally shooting a 21-year-old woman last summer following an argument over her dog appeared in court via video conference this week, where he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Michael Close, 37, invoked the insanity defense in Monday in Denver District Court Monday.
Close faces 22 separate criminal counts stemming from the fatal June 10, 2020, shooting of Isabella Thallas, including first-degree murder and multiple counts of possessing a prohibited large-capacity gun magazine.
Thallas was walking her dog with her boyfriend, Darian Simon, when she was shot to death. She had turned 21 two days earlier.
The shooting took place in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood. Simon was also shot during the incident, but survived.
A reporter for the Denver Post was present for Monday’s proceedings, and noted Close — his face covered with a medical mask — hardly spoke as he appeared virtually for the hearing.
An examination of Close’s sanity was ordered by the judge Monday.
The argument that preceded the shooting revolved around Thallas’ dog, which allegedly was defecating close to Close’s apartment window, which offended Close.
An AK-47 was used in the attack. It was registered to a Denver Police officer, who was a friend of Close’s. The suspect allegedly stole the weapon from the policeman.
The Post spoke to Ana Thallas, Isabella’s mother, following the hearing, and she called Close’s insanity plea “absolutely disgusting.”
She added: “I’m furious. I’m so furious… What upsets me the most is the fact he knew right from wrong. He admitted to what he did, he even showed a sense of remorse after he did it… If someone knows right from wrong and that they screwed up, how is that insanity?”
Close remains in custody. His trial is set for September, with a pre-trial hearing set for May 10.
Close’s attorney was unavailable for comment.