A Colorado deputy district attorney is facing a barrage of backlash and calls for disciplinary action after she posted a now-deleted Facebook image of a ‘trophy’ she received for securing the controversial 110-year sentence for a truck driver who killed four people.
Kayla Wildeman shared a photo of a semi-truck’s brake shoe that was gifted to her by fellow deputy DA Trevor Moritzky as congratulations her for her work in the conviction of 26-year-old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who claimed his brakes had failed in the tragic accident on April 25, 2019.
He was found guilty of 42 counts, including vehicular assault, first-degree homicide, first-degree assault, reckless driving, and careless driving, and slapped with the stern sentence on December 13.
Soon afterwards, Wildeman, 27, touted her team’s success in the since-deleted, undated post to social media.
‘Get yourself a trial partner as great as Trevor Moritzky,’ Wildeman wrote in a contentious caption for the photo, referring to her fellow Colorado deputy DA who gifted her the trophy. ‘He turned a brake shoe from a semi-truck into a memento.
‘What a special gift from truly a special person.’
Wildeman and Moritzky were co-chairs in the conviction, and the lengthy sentencing has led to an outraged cry for clemency for the driver – backed by a petition with more than 4.5 million signatures and a boycott staged by truckers in Colorado.
The petition was posted on Change.org in 2019 and called for the trucking company to be held responsible rather than Aguilera. It also calls for his sentence to be commuted to time served or for Governor Jared Polis to grant him clemency.
‘I made this petition because I am a native to Colorado, who believes this man is NOT a criminal and this was purely an accident,’ wrote organizer Heather Giblee.
First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King assured DailyMail.com in a statement Tuesday the matter has been addressed ‘internally,’ and clarified that the trophy was ‘not a piece of evidence from the case,’ but ‘was in very poor taste and does not reflect the values’ of her administration.
In the statement, King said through a spokesperson that she became aware of Wildeman’s post on Monday, and ‘took immediate action.’
‘We have addressed it internally,’ the attorney asserted.
The Colorado DA did not specify what measures were taken or whether Wildeman and Moritzky have been terminated for the widely seen gaffe.
She did, however, assert that the brake shoe used in the trophy was not a piece of evidence recovered from the scene of the fiery 28-car pile up.
The Colorado prosecutor further declared that it is not customary for state attorneys to exchange gifts to commemorate trial victories.
Meanwhile, Aguilera-Mederos’ outraged attorney James Colgan argued to The Denver Post Monday that ‘Lives are ruined all around, and they celebrate,’
The livid legal eagle added that the post was decidedly ‘unprofessional.’
Latino civil rights organization The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has also since registered its outrage over the post, demanding that the state of California stage ‘immediate disciplinary action’ against the prosecutor, who the org asserted should issue ‘a formal apology.’
‘To say we are disgusted over this so-called trophy is an understatement,’ National President Domingo Garcia told The Post Monday.
‘LULAC demands a full investigation into the matter to identify the people who are involved so that they face the maximum disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.’
Other Colorado jurists also reacted to Wildeman’s widely seen post as well, slamming the young state attorney for celebrating Aguilera-Mederos’ sentencing.
‘This is very disturbing,’ Tristan Gorman, legislative policy coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, told The Post about the incident.
‘It obviously flies in the face of the prosecution’s ethical obligation to seek justice rather than a conviction.
‘It’s just bragging rights about a trial win, where people on both sides, their lives were either ended or forever changed. The tone of it seems almost like the prosecutor is treating it like a game she won.’