Former Aurora Officers, Paramedic Challenge Indictment In Elijah McClain Death By Asking For Judge To Review Evidence


Four of the five men charged with manslaughter in the in-custody death of Elijah McClain are asking a judge to review the evidence used by a grand jury to indict them.

Attorneys for former Aurora Fire Rescue paramedic Peter Cichuniec and former Aurora police officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema, and Jason Rosenblatt said during a court hearing Friday, January 13, 2022, that they are asking the judge to decide whether there is enough evidence in the case to support the charges.

Adams County District Court Judge Priscilla Loew said she hadn’t started the review and set a new court date for Feb. 11 so all the parties can discuss progress. Former paramedic Jeremy Cooper, who was not scheduled for a court hearing Friday, will also appear at that hearing.

A grand jury in August indicted the five men on a combined 32 counts in connection with McClain’s 2019 death while in their custody.

The three Aurora officers — Roedema, Rosenblatt, and Woodyard — detained McClain on Aug. 24, 2019, after receiving a call about a suspicious person. They forced him to the ground and used a chokehold designed to block blood flow to the brain before Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics arrived and Cooper injected him with ketamine, an anesthetic. Cichuniec, a lieutenant at the time, oversaw the Aurora Fire Rescue crew that Cooper belonged to.

McClain suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and never woke up. He was declared brain dead on Aug. 27, 2019.

The grand jury indictment followed a criminal investigation by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office sparked by massive racial justice protests in the summer of 2020. Former 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young previously declined to prosecute those involved in McClain’s death.

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