Man pleads to vehicular homicide

Sentence to be deferred under plea agreement

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— A Denver man on Friday pleaded guilty to numerous charges including vehicular homicide that stemmed from a car accident that killed the man's best friend.

Mario James Lintz, 19, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, two counts of third-degree assault and driving under the influence.

John Campbell, a Denver resident who was also 19, was killed in the July accident.

Dressed neatly in a suit and tie, Lintz, in a calm voice, pleaded guilty to each of the charges as part of a plea agreement reached between defense attorney Kristopher Hammond and Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James.

Fourteenth Judicial District Judge Joel S. Thompson is scheduled to sentence Lintz at 1:15 p.m. April 5.

According to the plea agreement, the vehicular homicide charge will be deferred for three years during which time Lintz will be subjected to supervised probation. If he successfully completes the probation without committing a criminal offense, the charge will be dismissed.

Although Lintz may avoid punishment for the felony, Thompson will decide his fate for the two counts of third-degree assault and drunken driving.

Lintz faces the assault charges because he kicked a hospital nurse in the stomach as she was drawing blood from his arm.

For each count, Lintz could receive 24 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. For the drunken-driving charge, he could be sentenced to one year in jail and fined as much as $1,000.

The plea agreement also orders Lintz to undergo therapy for alcohol use and refrain from drinking alcohol. He also will have to perform 300 hours of public service.

During Lintz' sentencing hearing, Hammond and St. James expect to call members of Campbell's family to testify.

St. James is prosecuting Lintz against the wishes of Campbell's parents.

Campbell was killed in the early morning hours of July 1 on County Road 62 in North Routt County after Lintz lost control of the vehicle he was driving.

Campbell was ejected from the 1995 Toyota Celica and pronounced dead at the scene. Lintz had a blood-alcohol content higher than the state's legal limit of 0.10.

After the accident, Campbell's father, Bruce Campbell, wrote the court a letter requesting his son's lifelong friend be released and not prosecuted. The letter stated Lintz was his son's "closest friend," and his family has been friends with Lintz's parents since the boys

were babies.

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