1977 murder case reopened as Denver investigators find suspect in Texas

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

An 84-year-old man has been arrested in Texas and taken to Denver on suspicion that he shot and killed a man in downtown Denver in 1977.

The murder happened at the Denampa Bar on June 21, 1977, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office. (The bar was at 2305 Larimer Street.)

A suspect, Benito Soto, was identified at the time and sought for arrest. Soto had been arguing with another man, Armando Garcia, before leaving the bar. He returned shortly afterward, the affidavit states, and shot Garcia twice.

Soto fled the city and “the case went cold,” according to the DA’s office.

Recently, the Denver Police Department’s fugitive-tracking unit located Soto in Texas, according to the DA’s office, and the case was re-opened. Investigators spoke to several witnesses and to Soto himself.

Investigators used a governor’s warrant to bring Soto back to Denver, where he’s now being held without bond in the city jail.

Ken Lane, a spokesman for the DA’s office, said he could not disclose how Soto was located or why the case came back up.