A jury found Todd Griffith not guilty of attempted second-degree murder, but did find him guilty of second-degree kidnapping Thursday after four hours of deliberation.
The jury also found Griffith, 38, of Steamboat Springs guilty of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, third-degree assault and criminal mischief. The jury found Griffith not guilty of false imprisonment.
Griffith was arrested last December on charges of kidnapping and beating a former girlfriend. Thursday was the fourth and final day of his trial, as Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and public defender Ron Smith gave closing arguments to the jury before it went into deliberation. The jury included six men and six women.
Griffith's sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 20. Under the verdict, Griffith faces from four to 12 years in prison for the first-degree burglary charge, the conviction that came with the largest sentence.
During the four-day trial, the two attorneys presented very different stories about what happened Dec. 16, when Griffith was arrested, and in the days preceding it.
St. James told the jury that physical evidence and testimony from other witnesses corroborated with the woman's story that Griffith held her against her will and hit her in his mobile home in Dream Island Mobile Home Community. Evidence supported her story that Griffith broke into the woman's brother's residence on Tamarack Drive, attempted to kill her when he shoved his hand in her mouth and kept her from breathing, beat her and did more than $500 worth of damage to the residence, St. James said.
Testimony from police officers also supported the woman's story that Griffith forced her out of the residence and dragged her from Tamarack Drive along the Yampa River Core Trail and to his trailer in Dream Island, St. James said.
He pointed to the testimony from a doctor who saw the woman in the emergency room that night and detailed her injuries. Steamboat Springs Detective Ross Kelly said he saw two sets of footprints in the snow along the bike path and two areas where it looked as if people had been struggling. Near these areas, he found the woman's shoes.
Other police evidence included warmer clothes and shoes left in the woman's brother's residence, items the prosecution said she would have put on for the long walk back to the trailer had she truly left willingly with Griffith, as he testified she did.
When police found Griffith leading the woman to his trailer, her clothes were so stiff and frozen that they looked like cardboard, Steamboat Springs police Officer Damien Baynes said. The victim also was bruised badly and her feet were severely frostbitten, police said.
St. James said three witnesses, all of whom were friends of Griffith, testified that they saw him less than an hour before he went to the brother's home. One witness said Griffith told her he was on his "way to kill someone," another said Griffith had told him he was going to "bash someone's head in." Another woman testified that she warned Griffith to stay out of trouble, to which he replied he probably would get into trouble.
"Today's the day that the defendant predicted. You should not excuse him with (just) the third-degree assault conviction," St. James said. "He was aware of what he was going to do, and he acknowledged that he was going to get in trouble for it."
When Griffith took the stand Wednesday, he said he slapped the woman a few times but never attempted to murder or kidnap her.
To the contrary, St. James said, the evidence supported Griffith being found guilty of all the charges and questioned the remorse he showed on the stand for slapping the woman and having her walk for more than a mile through snow and ice in just stocking feet.
"He made her suffer all of that long, long walk, and in return he shed crocodile tears," St. James said. "You can't excuse his behavior. This court case will help you understand why he did it, but it won't excuse it."
Griffith said that in the four days before the arrest, the two had been on a cocaine and vodka binge.
His attorney told the jury that the small amount of sleep and large amount of drugs and alcohol used in the days before the incident could have influenced Griffith's and the woman's mental states.
"What effect did the loss of sleep and alcohol have on their mental state, on their ability to think things through? Think about the additional factor of smoking crack cocaine for those five days," Smith said.
The day of the arrest, Griffith said, the woman stole his cocaine and went to her brother's residence. He testified that when he went to the residence to talk to her about stealing the cocaine, they agreed to walk back to his trailer together.
During his closing arguments, Smith characterized the woman as a liar, someone who changed her account of the incident multiple times and had twice been convicted on felony charges for taking money from her employers.
Smith also said that with the busy rush-hour traffic on Tamarack Drive, Lincoln Avenue and the bike path that night, someone would have noticed a man dragging his girlfriend. He also questioned whether the assault caused the woman to lose two teeth, which the prosecution based its second-degree assault charge on. The defense said the teeth were lost because of advanced periodontal disease, not the assault.
"It would not be right, if you didn't hold (Griffith) responsible for his action on Dec. 16," Smith said. "It would be twice the tragedy if you convict him of charges that he did not do."