May 1, 2011

Domestic violence part of slaying suspect’s past

It's just sickening that it takes the loss of a beautiful soul to end a man's reign of Domestic Violence...

George Ruibal

By Pierrette J. Shields

Publish Date: 4/28/2011

LONGMONT — A Longmont man indicted last week on suspicion of killing his live-in girlfriend in December 2007 has a criminal history including domestic violence and drunken driving convictions.

George Ruibal, 56, is due to appear in Boulder District Court this morning for filing of charges. He was arrested last week after a Boulder County grand jury indicted him on suspicion of the second-degree murder of 45-year-old Dana Pechin in the couple’s apartment on the 300 block of 15th Avenue. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Ruibal reported Pechin’s death to police on Dec. 10, 2007. He said he got a ride home from a co-worker and that they found her on the couch dead under a blanket. Her body was so battered that police initially suspected she had been in an accident of some sort, but Ruibal told police she had been “jumped” when she went to a grocery store.

The Boulder County Coroner ruled Pechin’s death a homicide about a month after Ruibal made the report. Her cause of death was a closed head injury related to manual strangulation.

Investigators reported at the time that Ruibal’s story did not check out and added later that an injury to Ruibal’s face made them suspect there had been a fight. Ruibal’s DNA was found under Pechin’s fingernails.

However, investigators also found on Pechin’s neck DNA that hasn’t been identified.

Prosecutors declined to press charges until Longmont police finished their investigation, but presented the case to the Boulder County grand jury after the state’s cold case task force and an independent review of the investigation concluded that the case was ready.

The five-page indictment alludes to Ruibal’s previous legal tangles involving domestic violence.

“One former girlfriend of Mr. Ruibal told investigators that George Ruibal was violent with her during their relationship,” the indictment reads. “She expressed continuing fear of George Ruibal. She reported that George Ruibal strangled her during the relationship.”

The indictment also notes that his ex-wife reported that he strangled her, and that Pechin told friends she worried Ruibal would kill her.

In 2002, Ruibal was arrested at a Fort Collins hotel after police investigated an altercation between Ruibal and his fiance. The woman’s 10-year-old daughter told police they were on the way for pizza when Ruibal and her mother began to argue in the car. Ruibal got angry and pulled the car’s emergency brake, the girl told police.

They returned to the hotel and the argument continued, police reported. Ruibal pushed the woman and pinned her to the bed, telling her “I am not leaving here, I love you,” according to reports.

The woman reported Ruibal hit her in the chest, according to police reports. The girl told police she was in the parking lot of the hotel as Ruibal was leaving, and he drove his truck at her, so she ran back to the room.

Ruibal was convicted in Larimer County of misdemeanor harassment, including striking, kicking or shoving the victim during a domestic violence-related dispute, records show.

According to court records, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ruibal in 2003 on suspicion of third-degree assault in a domestic violence case. According to sheriff’s reports, Ruibal and his girlfriend at the time, who was five months pregnant with his child, got into an argument at their Evans home.

She reported he pushed her and she fell onto her stomach. She later told deputies she tried to calm him down so she could call her mother, and that he accompanied her to a video store to do so. The argument continued in public, and she said he pulled on her arm while she used the other one to hold on to a stop sign while she called to passers-by for help, none of whom assisted, and he eventually forced her into his truck.

She said she tricked him into believing police were on the way and she walked to a friend’s house for help, according to reports. Deputies took photos of injuries to the woman’s head, shoulder, face and wrist.

Ruibal told deputies he did not hit her at any time. He was convicted and sentenced to 360 days in jail.

In February 2004, he was arrested in Dacono on suspicion of domestic-violence harassment and criminal mischief, but the charges were dismissed in that case.

In June of that year, according to court records, the woman listed as the victim in the 2003 assault won a permanent restraining order against Ruibal, citing the domestic abuse.

After Pechin’s death, Ruibal spent time in the Weld County Jail for driving under the influence.

Ruibal was arrested Friday at a construction site in Boulder, and the Boulder County Jail lists his home address just blocks from the Longmont Police Department.

Public defenders assigned to Ruibal’s case this week filed a number of motions in the case, including a request that a judge review the case for probable cause and limit pretrial publicity.

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