Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Steamboat Springs A Louisville man who was arrested for hiding two firearms near the Springs Creek Trail was sentenced Wednesday to three months in Routt County Jail .
Before the sentence was given, Chadwick Lee Wells, 36, asked Routt County Judge James Garrecht to show "mercy" and let him serve the time concurrent with a seven-month sentence he is serving in Boulder County.
Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James said he thought Wells should serve six months that is not concurrent because of his criminal history, because he illegally had firearms outside of his home, and because "he did place our community in jeopardy."
If Wells was allowed to serve the sentences concurrently, it would be like a "two-for-one coupon," St. James said.
Garrecht ruled that the three-month sentence should not be concurrent, but Wells could end up serving only 54 days with good behavior.
Wells originally was charged with possession of a weapon by a previous offender, a Class 6 felony, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. His previous felony charge was for first-degree criminal trespassing.
In late July, he pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon and a charge of reckless endangerment.
Wells' charges stem from a June 4 incident when, on a tip from Wells' companion, police found a .22-caliber Marlin Rifle and a Bryco Arms .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun about 5 yards from the well-traveled trail and in plain view, according to police reports.
Each of the firearms had a round in the chamber, and a black sack of ammunition was sitting next to the guns.
Wells and his companion, Cyndi Johnson, 39, had gone to the Steamboat Springs Police Department that day, worried that they were being followed. Wells told police the Mexican mafia had been following them and trying to kill them for eight years.
He then asked whether he could purchase a firearm even though he was convicted of a felony, and police officials said he could not. Later, Johnson returned and told police Wells had hidden the firearms. The police found the firearms and arrested Wells.
In court Wednesday, Wells said his girlfriend had brought the guns on their trip to Steamboat Springs and that he "tried to do the right thing" and eventually turned himself in once he learned about the guns. He said that he and his girlfriend "ditched" the guns off the trail before going to police and did not know the guns would be near a school or on a highly used public trail.
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