Mar 162003
Authors: Patrick Crossland


Lisa Cappeli was only 10 when she discovered her mother’s body on the floor of her living room in February of 1973.

“I was 10 years old and had to walk over my mothers legs to get out of that house,” Cappeli said. “My childhood died that day.”

The arrest of Charles Leroy Anderson was announced on March 5, 2003. He is being held for an investigation into the death of Carmina Anderson, Cappeli’s mother.

On Feb. 21, 1973, deputies and paramedics responded to a camper trailer nine miles west of Bellevue in Rist Canyon, to a report of a shooting, according to a news release sent by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

“There was a lot of fighting that night, I fell asleep when it got quiet,” Cappeli said.

A neighbor woke Cappeli up, and led her out of the house.

“I remember not wanting to leave her lying on the floor,” Cappeli said.

According to the news release, Charles Leroy Anderson reported to authorities that an accidental shooting had occurred. The body of Carmina Anderson was discovered in the trailer with a gunshot wound to the head.

“He said it was an accidental shooting between he and his wife,” Cappeli said. “He did have numerous versions, it was impossible for it to have taken place the way he said it did.”

Charles and Carmina Anderson were married less than two weeks before the shooting took place.

“They were only married nine days before he shot her,” Cappeli said. “It was a quick wedding and ultimately a quick ending to that.”

On March 12, 1973, a Coroner’s Inquest, comprised of a six member jury, determined the shooting accidental.

“Everybody that left the inquest felt uneasy about it,” said Cappeli.

All evidence connected to the case was then returned to Anderson, or disposed of according to police regulation.

Not convinced the shooting was accidental, Cappeli began pursuing answers surrounding her mother’s death.

“I was 18 and looking for answers. It started out in effort to find my families roots,” Cappeli said. “I was asked if I was sure she died the way I thought.”

After years of compiling evidence, Cappeli presented new findings to Dr. Patrick Allen, Larimer County Coroner, who issued a second death certificate on May 7, 1996, that listed the manner of death as, “Undetermined, Suspicious for Homicide.”

Thirty years later, after re-examining the case, authorities arrested Anderson for second-degree murder.

Cappeli said putting together all the information led to enough probable cause to make the arrest.

If it had not been for the work and dedication she showed in this case we wouldn’t be where we are today, said Sheriff Jim Alderden of the Larimer County Sheriffs office.

“I spent a lot of time interviewing people,” Cappeli said. “I had something substantial; I said it and I proved it.”

Cappeli had long awaited Andersons arrest and said she was relieved and in disbelief that the moment had come.

“It hasn’t really hit, I never thought this day would take place,” she said. “Finally we’re here. He’s finally where he should have been 30 years ago.”

The memory of her mother and the events that led to her death has left Cappeli with sadness.

“I will always have this gaping hole in my chest, I will never be able to have a happy holiday,” she said. “It will never end completely, but it would be nice to put a little bow on it.”

Police are seeking information regarding a .22 caliber revolver manufactured by Harrington and Richardson, six-inch blue steel barrel, serial number AF-5037. Officials say the gun was bought at an auction and then sold by a gun dealer.

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