Who is Kayla Wildeman? Outrage after prosecutor’s post on Colorado trucker's sentence
A prosecutor in the case of trucker Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who has been sentenced to 110 years in prison, has been slammed for a tone-deaf Facebook post. Call for the Rogel's sentence to be commuted has now intensified. Back in 2019, the then-23-year-old lost control on Interstate 70 outside of Lakewood, Colorado, damaging 28 vehicles, killing four people and injuring dozens.
Amid the outrage and protests by truckers, a screenshot of a post made by Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Kayla Wildeman on her personal Facebook page has surfaced in legal circles. In the post, she thanked a colleague for making a trophy of a brake shoe to celebrate Rogel's conviction. The date of the post, however, is not clear.
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Along with the photo, Wildeman wrote, “Get yourself a trial partner as great as Trevor Moritzky. He turned a brake shoe from a semi truck into a memento. What a special gift from a truly special person. I never asked for a new bff at work, let alone one that is old enough to be my father (no offense) but I sure am grateful this trial brought you into my career as both a colleague and a friend! Words will never convey how lucky I am to have gotten the opportunity to learn from you!”
The post was in 'very poor taste'
Mortizky is reportedly a senior district attorney who worked on the case with Wildeman. The post has been comdemned by the League of United Latin American Citizens, which has called for “immediate disciplinary action and a formal apology." In a statement, district attorney Alexis King said that the “post was in very poor taste”. He said that the post did not reflect her office's overall views, and clarified that the brake shoe in Wildeman’s post was any evidence from the case.
"To make any kind of mockery or behave as if this was a ball game of winning and losing is an outrage. This was about four people losing their lives and another person facing the prospect of a 110-year prison sentence," Leonard Martinez, one of Aguilera-Mederos’ attorneys, said.
Describing Kayla Wildeman, Jordie Margaret, who went to law school with her, wrote on Facebook, "Her computer screensaver she had in law school is burned into my brain: "You're never fully dressed without a smile." It's burned into my brain because I remember constantly thinking about the irony of someone being so smiley and bubbly yet adding commentary in class that completely devalued human life and represented a complete inability to place herself in the shoes of someone else."
"This case isn't about Kayla Wildeman or the other Dolores Umbridge-type people like her that fill every DAs office I have ever worked with. This case is about how our society has turned a blind eye to the broken criminal justice system and criminal codes that allow all these Dolores Umbridge-type people to have complete control over so many people's lives, people like Mr. Mederos who was put in a horrible position and, at worst, made a mistake, at best, couldn't have done anything to avoid what happened outside of driving off the road and killing himself. This case is about how our society has gifted these Dolores Umbridge-type people with something called prosecutorial discretion, with next to no checks or oversight, and allowed them to work the laws in their favor to the point that the 110-year sentence here was the mandatory minimum," she continued.
"Mr. Mederos' case is not an anomaly. Kayla Wildeman, someone who celebrates being victorious in taking a man's life away, is not the exception. This happens every day, in every state in this country. I urge everyone to look into how your state's sentencing laws can be reformed. The DAs want you to think that prisons are filled with violent maniacs, but the reasons the mandatory minimum was what it was in this case is because this was charged as a crime of violence. Mr. Mederos is now legally a violent criminal solely because of the conduct in this case. Let that sink in, and think how many Mr. Mederos' there are in the prisons across this country," Margaret added.
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison on Monday, December 13, for creating a catastrophic pileup on Interstate 70 west of Denver. The crash killed four people and wounded six more. District Court Judge Bruce Jones ordered the sentence against Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 26, after determining that it was the statutory minimum time set forth by state law.