'Make My Day' man gets his day in court

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— A Yampa man who tried to use Colorado's so-called "Make My Day" law to have an attempted murder charge against him dismissed will get to make his case in court today.

Warren Dean Hillbolt III, 34, is on trial for attempted first-degree murder and violent crime with the use of a deadly weapon stemming from an incident that occurred Dec. 2, 2000.

Hillbolt allegedly shot 24-year-old Jared Williams in the shoulder with a 9-mm semiautomatic assault rifle that night after the two had spent the day together drinking at a Steamboat bar before driving back to Yampa.

After opening arguments Monday, Assistant District Attorney David Waite presented the prosecution's case Monday and Tuesday.

Among the witnesses who testified for the prosecution was Williams. Other witnesses called were Hillbolt's roommate at the time who made the 911 call that alerted authorities to the shooting and two sheriff's investigators.

Hillbolt's court-appointed lawyer, Ron Smith, will argue Hillbolt fired the gun in self-defense. Smith said Hillbolt was assaulted several times by Williams that night and feared that he was going to be assaulted again when he shot Williams.

Sheriff's deputies took photographs of wounds on Hillbolt's back he claims to have suffered during the assaults, the last of which Smith said occurred just before the shooting. Hillbolt also told deputies he was experiencing pain in both his back and his ribs after the incident, according to testimony from investigators Tuesday.

Smith attempted to have the charge dropped based on Colorado's "Make My Day" law, which allows residents to protect themselves and their homes from intruders.

After the prosecution wrapped up its case Tuesday, Smith sought a directed verdict, arguing the state had failed to prove its case against Hillbolt.

But that motion was denied by Judge Richard Doucette, who said there was enough evidence to allow the jury trial to continue.

Waite argued Tuesday that Hillbolt did not act in self-defense and that he had indicated during the return drive to Yampa that he planned to shoot Williams.

He also argued that Williams was not an intruder at the home as the defense contends.

The jury will listen to the defense's arguments today and will likely be ready for closing arguments on Thursday.

If Hillbolt is convicted of both charges, he he faces 16 to 48 years in prison.

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