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Kaylee Sanders pleads guilty in two Cortez-area murders in 2023

She is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree assault
Kaylee Sanders

Kaylee Sanders, who has been charged with killing a man and her brother, assaulting police officers and kidnapping a woman, pleaded guilty Friday to two charges of second-degree murder and one charge of second-degree assault.

As reported in The Journal, on July 28, dispatchers received a call from Sanders’ grandmother, who reported that Sanders shot her brother, Morgan Salgado, in Cortez. She then reportedly pointed her handgun at officers and shot it into the air before she was arrested blocks from the scene.

Sanders also was arrested for the murder of Lewis Wall the night before, on July 27. As previously reported, Tianna Gallegos, who reported the shooting to police, said that both she and Sanders had gone to Wall’s house the previous day to cut firewood.

After Wall was shot, Gallegos drove Sanders to Cortez. Gallegos reportedly was unable to get away from Sanders because she kept the firearm in her lap, according to Detective Lt. John Hargraves of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, who testified during Sanders’ preliminary hearing in October.

Chief Judge Todd Plewe of the 22nd Judicial District, who presided over the case, set Sanders’ sentencing date for Sept. 20, after requesting that a presentencing investigation report be conducted.

The death of Morgan Salgado

On July 28, Sanders entered her grandmother’s home, at 516 S. Madison Street. Her grandmother, Audrey Collom, informed Sanders that Salgado was at the house prior to Sanders’ arrival. She reportedly tried to avoid Salgado when she could, but ultimately entered the house that night.

Sanders was upset that Salgado had drunk some of her beer. She could be heard in the background of Collom’s 911 call, stating “I needed your guys’ help to get that narcissistic, abusive (expletive) away from me.”

Police found Salgado deceased on the couch in the living room, with a gunshot wound to the front of his head.

Lewis Wall’s death

On July 28, Hargraves responded to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, where Gallegos reported a shooting that occurred the day prior. She reported that after Sanders chopped firewood at or near Wall’s home, she walked outside with a backpack and a gun, demanding that Gallegos help her find Wall’s truck keys. She reportedly told her “not to panic.”

Gallegos reportedly observed Wall semi-upright against the couch grunting. Sanders, who kept the gun on her lap, made Gallegos drive, where they eventually ended up at Handy Mart at 806 S. Broadway after leaving the truck at Mesa Elementary.

Wall was found dead in his home when a welfare check was conducted. He reportedly had “his hands in places they should not have been,” according to Sanders’ friend Celeste Murdock, who spoke with Hargraves shortly after Salgado’s death.

A fight in jail

On March 6 of this year, Sanders and another inmate at the Montezuma County Detention Center, Abigayle Gray, were seen on video footage beating up a third inmate, Sabrina Phillips, according to a police report written by Deputy Andrew Daulton.

The report lists Sanders and Gray as suspects, Phillips as the victim, and five jail deputies as being involved in witnessing or breaking up the fight. Daulton reviewed video footage taken in the jail’s recreational yard, where he observed the fight take place.

“According to statements from jail staff, (Phillips) was ‘running her mouth’ before (Sanders) and (Gray) assaulted her,” the report stated.

Pictures taken by jail staff of Phillips’ injuries indicated scratches and bruising to her face. Both suspects were served summons for third-degree assault. Sanders is scheduled for arraignment in court on June 18 at 1:30 p.m.

This story will be updated as more details come forward.