Transient won’t face charges in bat attack
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” William Masoner no longer faces attempted murder charges after being accused of severely beating three men with a baseball bat at a hillside transient camp just outside the city.
Deputy District Attorney James Leuthauser said in court that he filed a “detailed and lengthy” motion not to pursue charges. He indicated the investigation is ongoing and charges could be brought in the future.
“Obviously, I think it’s the right decision,” public defender Tina Fang said. “I think this is one of the strongest incidents of self-defense I have ever seen.”
Fang asked for Masoner, 38, to be immediately released, saying he’s already spent about 30 days in the Garfield County Jail.
Both attorneys said after the hearing they couldn’t discuss the case further.
Magistrate Lain Leoniak signed an order granting the motion not to pursue charges and Masoner was expected to be released Wednesday afternoon.
The three-page motion corresponds with arguments of self-defense by Masoner and two people who were in his tent ” Michael Fuselier, known as “Cooter,” and Lori Komaniecki. The motion says its description of events may not be totally accurate and could change as the “difficult and ongoing” investigation continues.
The motion says there isn’t enough evidence to charge Masoner with a crime and he was “within his right to defend himself from knife wielding, multiple individuals who attempted to light his tent on fire, blocking the only exit with the fire.”
But it says the difficult determination is whether Masoner kept hitting the men with the bat after they no longer posed a threat to him.
Leuthauser wrote that during the day on May 31, someone was hostile and asked Masoner to leave his campsite on a hillside near Wal-Mart. Then, around 11:30 p.m., someone pulled the rain fly down off Masoner’s tent and thrust a large piece of flaming cardboard onto the piled-up fly, causing it to burn near the entrance of the tent, the motion says.
“Masoner jumped out of the tent while his two companions stayed inside,” the motion says. “The companions were able to extinguish the fire but remained in the tent.”
The motion says Masoner stood up and was attacked by three individuals including the man who’d harassed him earlier in the day. “At least one” of them had a knife and Masoner received a knife wound to his face, the motion says.
The motion says Masoner ran uphill a short distance to a fire pit and the three men pursued him, causing “other injuries, including a bruised eye.” Masoner grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and severely beat the men.
“One of Masoner’s companions, from inside the tent, heard one of the assailants say, ‘Please stop,’ at which time the fight stopped,” the motion says.
One woman told police Masoner “freaked out” and attacked the three men from behind before coming at her. But the motion says her account is “unsupported” based on currently available evidence and the lack of forensic evidence.
Blows from the baseball bat nearly killed Scott Cannon and Robert Davis and sent them both to the Denver Health Medical Center, where they’re still recovering. A third man was treated and released from Valley View Hospital.
The two men’s mothers said their sons may have permanent injuries. JoAnn Cannon, of Oxford, Mich., who still goes to the hospital daily, wasn’t pleased to hear about the decision not to file charges.
“I don’t know how to answer it other than to say if it was your child how would you feel?” she said. “They had their heads bashed in and they were put in critical condition and then they didn’t have enough evidence to charge the guy … I’m disgusted.”
She said her son is improving. She hopes he’ll be able to remember details about the incident when investigators talk to him next week.
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