District Attorney will not file charges in 2020 Berthoud shooting
In an announcement released Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Larimer County district attorney’s office announced they would not file charges in a fatal shooting case that occurred last year in Berthoud.
Edward “Brooks” Kreutzer was shot Sept. 5, 2020, while visiting a home in Berthoud. A man who identified himself as a friend of Kreutzer’s, Brandon McLaughlin whose home the event took place in, called 911 indicating both to the dispatcher and the initial responding deputies that the shooting was in self-defense.
Brandon McLaughlin, 38, was arrested Sept. 5, 2020, based upon probable cause by deputies from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. McLaughlin was accused of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Edward Brooks Kreutzer, 37, of Johnstown. Kreutzer died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide by the Larimer County coroner. McLaughlin had been granted a $100,000 bond.
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, the Larimer County district attorney’s office revealed that it would not file formal criminal charges against McLaughlin until a further investigation was complete.
A press release sent out by the district attorney’s office at that time explained the decision to forgo pressing charges as it involved the possibility that McLaughlin’s acts were in self-defense. The statement said that, “The People require additional information to determine whether the defendant acted in justified defense of himself or another (affirmative defense), and if not, whether the defendant acted with intent and after deliberation (required for murder in the first degree).”
To convict an individual of first or second-degree murder, prosecutors must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the applicable offense but must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting in defense of himself or another person.
Between last September and August of this year, the sheriff’s office continued the investigation into the incident. The results of that investigation were presented to the DA’s office.
In a statement released about the decision, it was stated that the evidence showed there had been a physical altercation between the men in the kitchen of the home. Injuries showed the Kreutzer, who weighed 215 pounds, was in an offensive position while McLaughlin’s injuries, who weighed 160 pounds, were defensive in nature. Blood test results confirmed both men were significantly intoxicated.
Further evidence presented in the report showed Kreutzer was either entering or inside a bedroom where McLaughlin had retreated when he was shot. Testing determined both men’s DNA was present on the firearm, but it is unknown how that occurred. The statement said it was a reasonable possibility there had been a physical struggle over the weapon.
Additionally, two children were present, who were six and eight at the time, in the home during the time of the altercation but were told by McLaughlin to go to the neighbor’s house and were not present when the shooting took place.
The statement concludes by outlining that there would be no way to disprove McLaughlin’s claims that he told Kreutzer to leave or to prove or disprove what took place between the time the children left, the only other witnesses to the altercation, and when the shooting took place. Finally, the statement says, “ultimately, exactly what occurred…remains unknown.”
Case reviews by the previous DA and the current DA concluded that no murder charges against McLaughlin would be successfully proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
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