Garfield District Court keeps murder charges for Torreyson; plea pending
Chief 9th District Judge James Boyd ruled Tuesday morning that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bring first-degree murder charges against Trevor Torreyson, 43, accused of killing a fellow transient in June 2018.
“The evidence certainly meets probable cause standard” for first-degree murder in the death of Keith Wayne, Boyd said after a preliminary hearing in Glenwood Springs.
The case is scheduled for another arraignment April 23.
Defense attorneys for Torreyson presented evidence doubting Torreyson’s intent, and indicated there may be an alternate suspect in the homicide during the hearing.
During preliminary hearings, the court is tasked with deciding whether the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient to bring charges, and must accept inferences
Wayne, then 56, was found dead near several car dealerships in West Glenwood off of Storm King Road June 20, 2018, with wounds on his left temple consistent with blunt force trauma.
The first officers on the scene found boot tracks, apparently made on concrete from dried blood, heading west from the scene.
When cops arrested Torreyson later that day, he was discovered in his campsite with blood on his boots, pants, shirt and arms. That is sufficient evidence for the homicide, District Attorney Ben Sollars said.
Cops identified Torreyson as a suspect in the case because of a bandana officers recognized from previous contacts with the defendant. The bandana was found under Wayne’s body.
Sollars said Torreyson also had ample time to form intent to kill and even deliberate about the murder; both necessary for first-degree murder conviction. Torreyson allegedly used boots to kick Wayne in the head and then may have struck the victim with a rock, Sollars said.
The rock was a point of contention with the defense. Public defender Alex Haynes questioned an investigator who said the rock was located by a Glenwood Springs Police officer more than 24 hours after the incident; after the crime scene had been searched and cleared, and after fire crews had cleaned the area.
The officer had “somewhat inexplicably” returned to the crime scene, said public defender Molly Owens in closing arguments of the Tuesday hearing.
Haynes also said there was “strong evidence” of an alternate suspect, or at least a second person, who was seen on surveillance footage heading east of the crime scene. The boot tracks believed to be Torreyson’s led west toward where his camp site was located.
A local liquor store clerk testified Tuesday that there was a person, wearing a fez cap, who had been around the day of the homicide. That person was suspicious enough that employees of the liquor store had reported it to police, the clerk said.
The liquor store clerk also testified that Wayne had come into the liquor store the day of his death to buy vodka and perhaps a bottle of Fireball whiskey, which he intended to share with friends.
Wayne told the clerk that he had won $50 off of a scratch-off lottery ticket, and was planning to celebrate.
The winning lottery ticket may be used in trial as a possible motive for the murder. Sollars said that Torreyson had tried to steal a backpack belonging to Wayne after the homicide.
“We know that there was a huge amount of drinking going on” around the time of Wayne’s death, Owens said.
In Colorado, intoxication is one factor that courts may consider when weighing intent and deliberation for criminal charges.
Torreyson must enter a plea of not guilty before his case is set for trial, unless a plea deal is reached.
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