Amonette found not guilty of attempted murder |

Amonette found not guilty of attempted murder

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Local public defenders won a split decision for Phillip Amonette Monday night, when a jury acquitted Amonette of attempted first degree murder charges but convicted him on the lesser offense of first degree assault on a police officer.

Amonette, 54, also was found guilty of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, for destroying property belonging to his girlfriend after a domestic dispute that escalated out of control.

The jury reached its unanimous verdict at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday, and the verdict was announced in court that evening.

Amonette is to be sentenced on Sept. 25, after the Ninth Judicial District probation department finishes a pre-sentence investigation of his case.

On the assault charge, which is a class three felony, Amonette faces a mandatory prison sentence of between 10 and 32 years in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Anne Norrdin, one of the prosecutors in the case.

The sentences are increased due to the fact that Amonette’s crimes are considered “extraordinary risk” and “crimes of violence,” Norrdin wrote in an e-mail.

The case stems from the shooting of Rifle Police Officer Garrett Duncan nearly two years ago.

Duncan was shot in the chest after he and Rifle Police Officer Dewey Ryan responded to a domestic violence call at about 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2010, at the U-Haul outlet on Whiteriver Avenue.

Amonette was living at the business with Debra Melendrez, his girlfriend of 10 years, according to court testimony, and her granddaughter.

Within minutes of the officers’ arrival, a confrontation ensued in which Amonette fired his .357 magnum revolver, hitting Duncan in the chest.

The impact knocked Duncan to the floor, though he suffered minor injuries because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Ryan, at the same time, opened fire on Amonette, hitting him three times in the back and once in the head.

Amonette spent approximately two months in a hospital recovering from his wounds, and has since been held in the Garfield County Jail on a bail of $1 million while awaiting trial.

At the two-week trial, Amonette was represented by public defenders Matthew Morriss and Sara Steele.

The prosecutors were Noordin and Deputy DA Jeff Cheney.

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