Vail man who allegedly shot roommate pleads not guilty

Robert Fergus-Jean is set for a March trial on two counts of attempt to commit murder in the first degree, other charges

The Vail man who allegedly shot his roommate on Dec. 30 of last year entered a not guilty plea Thursday morning and was set for a March jury trial.

Robert Fergus-Jean, 37, allegedly shot and injured his roommate after a night of partying and doing drugs together ended in an argument, according to an affidavit filed by Vail Police Department.

Robert Fergus-Jean
Eagle County Sheriff’s Office

Fergus-Jean faces two counts of attempt to commit murder in the first degree, a class 2 felony; illegal discharge of a firearm, a class 5 felony; and tampering with physical evidence and criminal mischief, both class 6 felonies.

Prosecutors also filed two counts of “crime of violence,” which would impose mandatory enhanced prison sentences if Fergus-Jean is convicted, as well as two misdemeanor charges for prohibited use of a weapon and one for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Fergus-Jean also faces two assault charges, both class 3 felonies, for a total of 12 charges brought against him by the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

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Fergus-Jean has chosen to fight these charges in a 10-day jury trial set for March 7-18.

Fergus-Jean entered the plea in an appearance in Eagle County District Court on Thursday morning and also waived his right to a speedy trial so that the trial could be set out for March.

Anyone charged with a crime is guaranteed the right to a speedy trial, meaning their trial must be held within six months of entering a not guilty plea.

The shooting happened at the Lion’s Ridge Apartments in Vail after Fergus-Jean and his roommate, Stephen McIntyre Darley, also 37, were partying at home with alcohol, marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, according to the affidavit.

Fergus-Jean reportedly fired six shots from his .45 caliber handgun at Darley. The shots are believed to have been fired from a hallway in the apartment and through Darley’s closed or closing bedroom door, with Darley on the other side of the door. Darley was hit twice, once in the left thigh and once near the right knee, and taken to Vail Health Hospital for treatment for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said one of the six bullets went through the bedroom wall and into a neighboring apartment, entering above a bed where a neighbor was sleeping. That man was not injured.

Fergus-Jean and Darley provided differing accounts about how the argument started, what it was about and how it escalated, though neither of the men appeared to express any hostility toward the other over the incident. The two men were seen exiting the apartment together when police arrived to investigate a report of a disturbance, and Fergus-Jean had reportedly helped bandage Darley’s wounds after the shooting.

Fergus-Jean will appear in district court on Jan. 6 at 9 a.m. for a motions hearing to determine what can and cannot be used as evidence in his upcoming trial.

Tom Lotshaw contributed earlier reporting.

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