Local News Briefs

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A Rifle man charged with first-degree murder after allegedly bludgeoning a DeBeque man to death with a sledgehammer handle in August, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Mesa County Court.

According to a Court Clerk official, a 10-day trial in the first-degree murder case against Kenneth Earl Wright Jr., 44, was set to begin on June 14.

Wright is also charged with assault with a deadly weapon – violent crime causing death after he surrendered to police in the early morning hours of Aug. 3. Wright Jr. surrendered to Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies after he called Garfield County dispatch and told them that he had just assaulted Steven Laverne Burdick, 52, at Burdick’s DeBeque home earlier that night.

According to an arrest affidavit, Wright told officers that he “just snapped” after an argument at the home occurred.

Wright told officers that he saw the sledgehammer handle beside the door to Burdick’s home, grabbed it, took one step and struck Burdick in the back of the head, according to the affidavit. Wright said also that he hit Burdick again when he tried to get up after the first hit.

Wright is being held at the Mesa County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond. A motions hearing was set for March.

Literacy Outreach is looking for volunteers interested in tutoring an adult student eager to improve their reading, writing, math or English-speaking skills.

Literacy Outreach volunteers need at least two hours of time per week to work one-on-one with an adult, the ability to read and speak English, and a desire to help someone who wants to learn.

Learn more by attending a volunteer information session. Information sessions will be held at the Glenwood Springs Library on Jan. 5 at 5:30 p.m., with a second meeting on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m.

A volunteer information session will also be held in Rifle at noon at Starbucks on Jan. 6 and again at the Rifle Branch Library on Jan. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Literacy Outreach will also be at the Carbondale Library at noon on Jan. 5.

These informal and brief presentations will provide details about Literacy Outreach’s volunteer tutoring program.

For more information contact Literacy Outreach at 945-5282.

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