Trial begins in 2018 Glenwood Springs murder case that shook local homeless community
A trial began this week in the 2018 first-degree murder case in which suspect Trevor Torreyson is acting in his own defense regarding the death of a fellow member of the local homeless community, Keith Wayne.
After jury selection Thursday, Torreyson, appearing in Garfield County District Judge James Boyd’s courtroom wearing a dress shirt and slacks, reserved his opening statement until later in the trial when he begins presenting his defense.
Torreyson, now 46, has been in the Garfield County Jail on $1 million bond since his arrest the day after Wayne, 56, was found beaten to death in a small park area near the Subaru dealership in West Glenwood on June 20, 2018.
With the 12 jurors spread throughout the courtroom, as a precaution against potential spread of COVID-19, 9th District Attorney Jefferson Cheney gave his opening statements. In addition to the attendees who were in the courtroom, the proceedings are being webcast using Webex, the video-conferencing platform the courts have been using while public health safety measures have been in place.
Cheney described it as a “beautiful sunny morning” that June day when some employees of the auto dealership noticed bloody footprints on the sidewalk. They ultimately found Wayne’s body in some bushes, “his face deliberately beaten to hamburger,” in Cheney’s words.
“Keith was a happy-go-lucky man, whose daily task was much like a weather vane. He just went where he wanted to go, his main concerns being where he was going to eat and where he was going to sleep,” Cheney said.
After news of Wayne’s death, several community members who volunteer to help with those who are experiencing homelessness spoke out to say that Wayne wasn’t merely a “homeless man,” but a man with a name who was also a veteran, a father and an “all-around compassionate human being,” in the words of one longtime volunteer with the local Extended Table meals service.
Cheney advised the jurors that “a clear path of forensic evidence” in the trial would point to Torreyson as the killer. Key in that evidence was a bandanna, or “dew rag,” as Cheney called it, that was found next to Wayne’s body. Police would later use that evidence to identify Torreyson as the primary suspect, as he had been known through previous police encounters to wear that very type of bandanna.
Torreyson was arrested the day after the incident at his nearby camp along the Colorado River near Interstate 70, not far from the scene of the alleged crime.
Investigating officers had followed the bloody boot tracks to a point leading in the direction of Torreyson’s camp, according to court records in the case. When he was arrested, he allegedly was still wearing the bloody boots, and his clothes were covered in blood.
After conflicts with previously appointed defense attorneys, Torreyson decided in September 2020 to represent himself with only minimal advisory counsel.
“The evidence will lead to one conclusion, and I am going to ask you to find Mr. Torreyson guilty of first-degree murder,” Cheney said.
Torreyson waived his right to present an opening statement, saying he will give a statement when he opens his defense. First, the prosecution will present its case starting Friday morning with several witnesses expected to take the stand. The trial is scheduled through March 11.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.