BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – After deliberating deep into Thursday night, a Summit County jury found 21-year-old Tyrus Vanmatre guilty of attempted murder, assault and kidnapping.
After deliberations lasted well past sundown, a Summit County jury found 21-year-old Tyrus Vanmatre guilty of attempted murder, assault and kidnapping.
Vanmatre and a juvenile allegedly took their friend Jadon Jellis into the mountains East of Lake Dillon off of Swan Mountain Road, and then attacked him with a Taser and a machete.
“This crime is unthinkable — to lure a friend to an isolated area in the mountains where you immobilize them with a stun gun and then attack them with a sword is something out of a horror movie,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown. “The victim, by sheer tenacity and will to live, was able to get his wounded body off the mountain to find help. But for his quick thinking he would have been murdered.”
Vanmatre, an aspiring model, was found guilty on 7 of 9 counts against him. He’ll be sentenced on Oct. 29 and faces the possibility of life without parole.
“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,” the victim Jadon Jellis told CBS4 in July 2014. “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.'”
“According to court documents, the victim came to Denver from Thermopolis, Wyoming, with $50,000 he made from selling his father’s house. He had planned to move in with Vanmatre and agreed to travel with him in his Chevy Blazer to a party in the mountains. Jellis said Vanmatre parked the Blazer at the Sapphire Point trailhead before hiking into the woods in search of a man that would give them a handgun for a planned robbery,” the District Attorney’s office said in a press release.
Much of the testimony at the week-long trial differed from initial police interviews. Prosecutors said the changing stories were proof of Vanmatre’s guilt.
What really happened that night and why may never be known but investigators believe drugs were involved.
A juvenile was also involved in the case and initially prosecutors wanted to try him as an adult. The court disagreed and a plea agreement was reached. The teenager is spending up to five years in a youth corrections facility for his connection to the crime.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.