Denver man accused of murder in dog poop dispute claims insanity

A Denver man accused of killing a 21-year-old woman and shooting her boyfriend during a dispute over where their dog was defecating pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in Denver District Court Monday.

Michael Close, 37, is charged with killing Isabella Thallas on June 10 outside his Ballpark neighborhood home on North Fox Street. He is accused of opening fire with an AK-47 from his apartment on Thallas and her boyfriend, Darian Simon, who was shot twice but survived.

Close used a gun he’d taken from a Denver police officer, Sgt. Dan Politica, who was his friend, police said. The rifle was the sergeant’s personal gun, and was taken without his knowledge, according to police.

Close appeared virtually for his arraignment from jail and spoke little during Monday’s appearance. Most of his face was hidden behind a mask.

He will now undergo a court-ordered examination of his sanity, in which experts will consider whether his mental state during the shooting qualifies him for an insanity defense.

If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity at trial, he will be committed to a mental health facility for treatment, rather than to a prison.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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