Admitted murderer sentenced to 36 years for stabbing outside Leadville bar
LEADVILLE — A stabbing death outside of a popular Leadville saloon this past spring will keep the killer in prison until he’s close to his 60th birthday.
Matthew James Haley, 30, admitted to stabbing Jordan Gausman, 31, to death outside of Leadville’s Silver Dollar Saloon. On Tuesday, District Court Judge Mark Thompson sentenced Haley to 36 years in prison after Haley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Because it’s a crime of violence, Colorado state law demands that Haley remain in prison for at least 75 percent of his sentence, or 27 years.
During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Thompson echoed the arguments of Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi that Haley ambushed Gausman outside of the Silver Dollar Saloon in an unprovoked attack.
“This killing shocked and outraged our small Leadville community. We express our condolences to Jordan’s friends and family who will forever be saddened by his death and never forget the joy that he brought through his good nature,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District attorney, in a statement.
It was May 2, 2016, when Gausman and Haley were talking amicably inside the bar, according to the statement from the district attorney’s office. For no apparent reason, Haley became angry with Gausman, the statement said.
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While Haley was paying for his beer, he pushed and struck Gausman on his chest and head and invited him outside the bar, according to the statement. Gausman paid his tab shortly afterward, and he and a friend left the bar.
Outside, in front of the bar, Haley attacked Gausman without warning, the statement said. Moments later, Haley punched Gausman repeatedly in the face, knocked him to the ground and kicked him.
While Gausman tried to stand up, Haley held him, pulled a knife from a leg sheath and stabbed Gausman on his left side, causing Gausman’s fatal injury, the statement said.
Haley fled the scene, setting off a manhunt. Meanwhile, Gausman was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville and was then airlifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival.
Haley turned himself in to the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office on May 7, 2016.
Haley was also sentenced for his part in helping another inmate in a January escape attempt. That four-year sentence will be served concurrently with his second-degree murder sentence, Thompson ruled.