DENVER (CBS4) – The young victim of a brutal attack says two people he considered friends viciously turned on him with machetes.
Tyrus Walter Vanmatre, 20, and a 16-year-old boy face several charges, including attempted murder and kidnapping in the alleged brutal attack on J.J. Jellis, 18, who recently moved to Colorado from Wyoming.
Deputies found Jellis badly injured in the early morning of June 17 wandering on Swan Mountain Road near Sapphire Point between Keystone and Frisco.
After a lengthy hospital stay, Jellis has been released, but says the pain is tremendous and every time he closes his eyes he sees the image of being attacked.
Jellis told CBS4’s Karen Morfitt that he moved to the Denver area excited to meet new people and his brother introduced him to Vanmatre.
“These were my friends, they were regular guys, we hung out. I was staying at his (Vanmatre’s) house because we were getting an apartment together,” Jellis said.
Police believe Jellis’ former friends are responsible for the brutal attack that left Jellis with machete wounds to his face, head and hands, and almost cost him his life.
“It was out of nowhere. It was crazy,” Jellis said.
Court documents say Vanmatre and his juvenile accomplice lured Jellis into the mountains and told him they were going to a party and that they had to do “a job.” Jellis says it was his understanding that that meant robbing someone in a home invasion. He agreed to go along but says he didn’t believe anything would happen.
“If he’s all like, ‘Yo man, let’s rob this guy.’ And I’m like, ‘No, you’re stupid. Let’s go to this party’ … that was the conversation.”
When they got to the mountains Jellis says his friends led him deep into the woods.
“It was sketchy because they both had machetes. And I was like, ‘Why do you both have machetes?’ And they were like, ‘Brother, there are wild animals out here.’ ”
Jellis was able to find a throwing knife in the back of the car and brought them along.
“I didn’t think they were going to try to kill me with these machetes. But then I was like, ‘You know, I might as well get something.’ Because why not? If something happens, I kind of have something to protect myself.”
Jellis said the juvenile then tried to use a stun gun on him.
“I just hopped onto Tyrus and I pulled that knife. And I think I stabbed him a bunch … it felt like I was hit with a baseball bat. My adrenaline was pumping so hard.”
As he reached up to grab a weapon, Jellis caught it and he received a cut on his right hand. He also sustained lacerations to his face and head.
Jellis was eventually able to fight off his attackers and fled the area.
“I’m not led to slaughter easily. I’m definitely going to fight back, no matter what, no matter who it is, no matter if they have machetes or not.”
Jellis can’t say for sure why but believes the attack could have had something to do with the money he brought with him to start a future in a new city.
“Money can make you do crazy things. Maybe he wanted my money. I have no reason to steal money from anyone. I have $50,000. He knew that I had money.”
He said he’s now worried he will have a hard time trusting anybody from now on.
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