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Machete Attack Victim Accused By Suspect’s Mother Of Firing Gun

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – One defendant accused in a bizarre machete attack appeared in court for the first time Monday, and during that hearing the victim was accused of intimidating a witness.

Tyrus Walter Vanmatre, 20, and a 16-year-old boy are accused in the alleged brutal attack on J.J. Jellis, 18, who recently moved to Colorado from Wyoming.

J.J. Jellis talks with CBS4's Jeff Todd outside of court on Monday (credit: CBS)

J.J. Jellis talks with CBS4’s Jeff Todd outside of court on Monday (credit: CBS)

Deputies found Jellis badly injured in the early morning of June 17 wandering on Swan Mountain Road near Sapphire Point between Keystone and Frisco.

Tyrus Vanmatre (credit: Summit County Sheriff)

Tyrus Vanmatre (credit: Summit County Sheriff)

When they left for the mountains from Littleton that day, Jellis thought they were all friends. But after what happened in the high country, he says he’s just thankful to be alive.

“I’m about to get them out on Friday,” Jellis told CBS4’s Jeff Todd about the stitches in his hand.

Jellis says the stitches in his hand still hurt every day, but it’s a sign of a lifesaving move. According to court documents, Jellis grabbed the blade of a sword to keep from being impaled in the alleged attack by Vanmatre and the 16-year-old.

Todd asked Jellis why he went to the court proceeding on Monday.

“To see the person who tried to kill me,” Jellis responded. “He looked at me and I smiled, and he was like, ‘What’s up?’ And I was like, ‘What’s up man?’ “

J.J. Jellis (credit: CBS)

J.J. Jellis (credit: CBS)

Vanmatre appeared in court Monday. He and the juvenile face 11 charges, including kidnapping, assault and attempt to commit first-degree murder. A motive is still unknown but Jellis thinks he was attacked for his money.

“He’s all like, ‘Hey man, I need a roommate.’ And I had a little bit of money. I was like, ‘Man, me too.’ He was really cool and nice to me,” Jellis recalled.

J.J. Jellis shows the wound on his hand from grabbing a machete (credit: CBS)

J.J. Jellis shows the wound on his hand from grabbing a machete (credit: CBS)

Jellis was living with Vanmatre at Vanmatre’s mother’s home. In court Vanmatre’s mother claimed Jellis was outside her Littleton home firing a gun in the air Sunday night.

“I’m glad she did that because I have cameras at my apartment,” Jellis said. “We can go look at the cameras because I was definitely at my house. I would have no reason to do that … I’m not really worried about accusations. I’m not getting into any trouble.”

There was a report from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about the shots fired incident Sunday night, but there wasn’t enough evidence to support a crime.

The co-defendants are facing life in prison if found guilty.

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