BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4)– The following is an account of the events that happened in court on Friday morning during the plea deal reached by Christopher Waide who killed Lea Porter in June 2014.
Before court starts:
Prosecutor Tim McCormack approaches Lea Porter’s family and warns them not to make any outbursts or threats during the proceeding, that a judge won’t tolerate it. Lots of tension. Rene Jackson, Lea’s mom replies, “why are you harassing us?” Another asks, “Why don’t you say something positive?”
Just about 8:30 a.m.:
Actually, maybe a few minutes after, I believe I see family of Christopher Waide enter the courtroom.
Judge not inside yet, lots of attorneys at DA’s desk, looks like at least 2 victim’s advocates for Porter family here as well, supporters and family of Lea fill nearly 2 benches (only 3 rows of benches, per each side of courtroom).
Judge Craig Welling and Christopher Waide enter the courtroom.
This was set over from September (last court appearance), waiting on an appeal ruling that delayed proceeding then, but now have ruling on that motion and this court has jurisdiction.
Defense attorney Todd Nelson asks to approach bench (we never end up finding out what they discussed).
tells judge Lea’s mother wants to make statement
Rene Jackson speaks:
“After 15 months, the DA is still getting her name wrong”
Pronounced Lee not Leah
“I will be the voice for my daughter”
Disappointed some charges have been dropped
Until recently DA stated they have strong case even without body
We weighed pros and cons of plea deal
Lea was a part of the evidence that was destroyed
Calls Waide “a man with a dark past”
Even if it didn’t give defendant one more day in jail, to us, it will never be acceptable that this charge (evidence tampering) was dropped
“He should have to carry the weight of that the rest of his life”
Uncomfortable with deal
We can’t forget that Lea fought hard as she was murdered
That she knew what was happening
How afraid she must have been
She would say it’s more important for defendant to go away for life than find her remains
I believe a jury would convict
Calls plea offer a “surprise change of direction”
Indicates she opposes the stipulated sentence terms
Asks the judge to reject this deal
Says Lea’s biological father is comfortable with deal
I appreciate comments of Ms. Jackson
But believe it’s appropriate to go forward this morning
He reads the original counts
Then only the ones Waide would take in plea deal: 2nd degree murder and sexual exploitation of a child
Goes through list, making sure the defendant understands what he’s agreeing to and indicates such verbally- this gets repetitive, but it is very necessary.
Waide pleads guilty to murder in the 2nd degree, a class 2 felony, that on June 3 or 4, 2014 he caused the death of Lea Porter
“I understand, sir, ” Waide tells judge.
Waide pleads guilty to both sexual exploitation of a child and 2nd degree murder
Accepts the plea
Sets over for sentencing on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 8:30am. The terms of sentencing are already set, as part of the deal, but Waide still must formally be sentenced by a judge.