Homicide

Former cop pleads not guilty to 2nd degree murder in on-duty shooting in small Colorado town

  • In this photograph taken on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Rocky Ford, Colo., a balloon in the shape of a star carries a written message as it sits next to a photograph of Jack Jacquez in a memorial to the 27-year-old man who was shot and killed in the home that he shared with his mother by a Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer on Oct. 12, 2014. Former Rocky Ford policeman James Ashby has been charged with second-degree murder in the case, the first Colorado lawman in more than two decades to face murder charges for an on-duty shooting. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this photograph taken on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Rocky Ford, Colo., a balloon in the shape of a star carries a written message as it sits next to a photograph of Jack Jacquez in a memorial to the 27-year-old man who was shot and killed in the home that he shared with his mother by a Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer on Oct. 12, 2014. Former Rocky Ford policeman James Ashby has been charged with second-degree murder in the case, the first Colorado lawman in more than two decades to face murder charges for an on-duty shooting. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photograph taken on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Rocky Ford, Colo., Jackie Jacquez-Lindenmuth, front, looks over a memorial to her brother Jack Jacquez, who died after being shot by Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer James Ashby on Oct. 12, 2014. Ashby faces second-degree murder charges, the first officer in more than 20 years to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in Colorado. Jackie's mother, Viola Jacquez, back, looks on at the memorial for her son, Jack. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this photograph taken on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Rocky Ford, Colo., Jackie Jacquez-Lindenmuth, front, looks over a memorial to her brother Jack Jacquez, who died after being shot by Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer James Ashby on Oct. 12, 2014. Ashby faces second-degree murder charges, the first officer in more than 20 years to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in Colorado. Jackie's mother, Viola Jacquez, back, looks on at the memorial for her son, Jack. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photograph taken on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in La Junta, Colo., district attorney James Bullock talks about the decision to file second-degree murder charges against Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer James Ashby in the Oct. 12, 2014, death of Jack Jacquez. Ashby is the first police officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in more than two decades in Colorado. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

    In this photograph taken on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in La Junta, Colo., district attorney James Bullock talks about the decision to file second-degree murder charges against Rocky Ford, Colo., Police Department officer James Ashby in the Oct. 12, 2014, death of Jack Jacquez. Ashby is the first police officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in more than two decades in Colorado. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)  (The Associated Press)

A former police officer being prosecuted for killing a man in the small Colorado town of Rocky Ford has pleaded not guilty.

James Ashby's lawyer entered the not guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge in court in nearby La Junta (La HUN'-tah) on Thursday. Ashby didn't speak during the brief hearing.

Ashby is accused of shooting 27-year-old Jack (HAWK'-ez) Jacquez in the back on-duty after following him into his home in October. He told investigators he thought Jacquez might be a burglar and he feared he was getting ready to hit him with a bat.

Ashby lost his job after he was charged.

The shooting shocked the community on Colorado's southeastern plains, where many wave at passing police cars and where suspects are often neighbors.