Judge denies motion to dismiss Frisco murder case under “Make My Day” law
December 10, 2014
Two weeks after the defense attorneys for Charles Lee Sattler, the suspect in the April beating death of local chef Blake Bostic, requested the murder case be dismissed under a Colorado law known as "Make My Day," a judge denied their motion.
Sattler, 42, appeared Monday, Dec. 8, before judge Karen Romeo in Summit County District Court for a motions hearing.
Romeo denied the motion because she found no evidence that Bostic unlawfully entered Sattler's room at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco, where witnesses say a fight began that led to Bostic's death.
Unlawful entry is required under the state Homeowner Protection Act, which says an occupant of a dwelling may use deadly force against an intruder when the occupant reasonably believes the intruder committed or intends to commit a crime in the dwelling beyond the uninvited entry and might use physical force against any occupant.
The 1985 law is nicknamed for the catchphrase popularized by Clint Eastwood's iconic character "Dirty" Harry Callahan.
Romeo also denied motions to suppress some of Sattler's statements — about his fighting experience, for example — that the prosecution has called key incriminating evidence.
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According to Sattler's defense team, his statements shouldn't be included as evidence because officers violated Miranda, a legal requirement to inform suspects of their right to remain silent before taking them into custody or interrogating them.
Romeo ultimately agreed with the prosecution's argument, however, that Sattler made the statements voluntarily when he was not in custody or being interrogated.
"She did a very thorough job. She spent a lot of time researching," said Rusty Prindle, deputy district attorney.
The hearing, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., lasted until about 6 p.m., he said, and Romeo scheduled another motions hearing for Dec. 22 to finish ruling on a few leftover motions.
One of the decisions she will make then is rescheduling Sattler's trial, which was originally set for Jan. 20.
The lead public defender representing Sattler, Sommer Spector, resigned and will be replaced after the end of the year.
The judge agreed to push back the trial to allow a new public defender to become familiar with the hundreds of pages of relevant court documents from the last nine months.
Sattler, a construction worker and amateur boxer from Michigan, is charged with one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree assault stemming from an alleged fight during the early morning hours of April 14 at the motel.
Police say when they arrived around 2:20 a.m. they found Bostic lying unresponsive outside one of the motel's rooms.
Officers then talked to Sattler and his friend Charles Upchurch inside the room they rented for the night; both men said it was there that Bostic attacked Upchurch.
Sattler said he jumped in to defend his friend.
However, Bostic's friend Ryan Stevens, the fourth man present that night, told the court that Upchurch was the aggressor in an argument that may have started over hot sauce Bostic was selling that night.
When Stevens approached to stop the fight, he said, Sattler knocked him out.
Bostic and Stevens met Sattler and Upchurch at Ollie's Pub and Grill about an hour before the incident, and when the bar closed the four intoxicated men moved to the motel.
Soon a fight inside Sattler's room and spilled out into the motel's back parking lot.
According to police reports, witnesses saw Sattler holding Bostic up by the shirt collar and punching him repeatedly in the face. Bostic's body was limp and his arms were at his sides.
According to an autopsy report, Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma. He was 38.
Sattler remains in custody on $250,000 bond. He faces 16 to 48 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on the murder charge and up to 24 years on the assault charge if found guilty by a 12-member jury at trial and if crime-of-violence sentencing enhancers come into play.
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