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Attempted murderer convicted in Grand Junction

Paul ShockleyGrand Junction CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION – Sam Lincoln and Mike Miller first crossed paths in 1995.Then a patrol deputy in training with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Miller said he arrested a 14-year-old “neighborhood bully” for stealing a bicycle.In 2005, they traded gunshots.”I guess he still thinks he’s a bully,” Miller said Thursday after verdicts were read in Lincoln’s attempted murder trial.”You become a better a cop after something like that,” he said of the shooting. “But there’s cobwebs you have to try to shake.”Years removed from the Dec. 1, 2005, gun battle and high-speed chase through the streets of Grand Junction, veteran cops shed tears, hugged and threw verbal jabs after Lincoln’s jury returned guilty verdicts.”He’s going to a better place,” Miller deadpanned.Lincoln, 26, was convicted Thursday on a host of charges including two counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at Miller and his fellow deputy and partner, Tanya Brechlin.Lincoln will be sentenced Jan. 25.Lincoln was arrested on Dec. 11, 2005, at the Budget Host Motel in West Glenwood Springs. He was apprehended after law enforcement shot him with less lethal bean-bag projectiles.He was charged with attempted murder stemming from a Nov. 30, 2004 case.Lincoln is accused of forcing his way into a home in the Fireside Trailer Court on Highway 6&24 behind the Oasis Bar and Grill in West Glenwood and stabbing a man during a robbery.A second man in that incident, Lawrence Doty, was found not guilty of all charges in January 2007.Prosecutors introduced evidence of 23 shots from two handguns fired by Lincoln that night. Three shots struck the patrol car, narrowly missing Miller and Brechlin.Miller, who drove the patrol car in a pursuit at times pushing 100 mph, returned fire twice with a shotgun – blasting a hole through the car’s windshield.A jury of seven women and five men reached verdicts after about four hours of deliberation. They ordered pizza for lunch – news a verdict had been reached was announced around 1 p.m.Lincoln showed little emotion as District Judge Thomas Deister read the verdicts, but turned, smiled and waived to family as he left the courtroom.His family members – many of whom were sitting through Lincoln’s second attempted murder trial in just over a month – were escorted by sheriff’s deputies out a side door and away from cameras in the Mesa County Justice Center.”I feel bad they have to go through this,” Brechlin said after Thursday’s verdict.Miller and Brechlin on Dec. 1, 2005, were attempting a traffic stop on a silver Kia driven by Ashley King, 26 – Lincoln was riding in the passenger seat.King is serving a 17-year prison sentence in-part related to the incident and testified for the prosecution against Lincoln. She told jurors that Lincoln, before the chase, stated his intent to “go to war” with law enforcement.Lincoln was wanted at the time for the Nov. 23, 2005 shooting of James Finnegan in the desert north of Grand Junction.Lincoln was convicted Dec. 5 of attempted murder in that case.With Lincoln’s Mesa County attempted murder convictions alone, he could be sentenced to a maximum 144 years in prison.He’s also scheduled for trial starting March 10 in Garfield County for attempted murder.Reach Paul Shockley at pshockley@gjfreepress.com


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