Cold case murder suspect appears in court

Local

A first-degree murder suspect arrested in 2018 for a nearly 30-year-old cold case, appeared in court Wednesday. 

The suspect, 46-year-old James Papol, is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of 24-year-old Mary Lynn Renkel-Vialpando. The alleged crime happened nearly 30 years ago, but thanks to new DNA technology police were able to tie Papol to the murder, arresting him last September. 

On June 5, 1988, the body of the 24-year-old mother was found in an alley in Old Colorado City. According to Colorado Springs Police, she had been raped, stabbed and beaten to death. At the time of the crime, Papol would have been just 15 year’s old.

Aside from the first-degree murder charge, on Wednesday, the 4th Judicial District Attorneys office filed a Crime of Violence charge against Papol. 

The judge also ruled on a motion that Papol’s case will be seen in adult court, citing the 1988 law when the crime happened.

“Under the 1988 law it was up to the discretion of the district attorney on whether it was filed in adult or juvenile court; we have filed this case in adult court and she found that it met that law and was allowing it to stay in adult court,” said District Attorney Dan May of the 4th Judicial District. 

In another motion, the judge agreed with the defense that Papol should be transferred from the El Paso County Jail to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.

According to District Attorney Dan May, the judge found no fault on behalf of the El Paso County Jail, she just ordered for the purposes of this case that Papol, a former patient, stay at the state mental hospital.

Papol has a long documented criminal history dating back to 1991. In several of Papol’s previous charges, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.    

Papol will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 1.

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