Tentative pleas in demo case

Felony charges dropped in sentence for destructive party


— Two of the men accused of causing significant damage to a rented Steamboat Springs home during an alleged demolition party agreed to tentative plea agreements Thursday in Routt County Court.

Michael Gatrell, 21, of Ohio, and Philip Hafner, 21, of Oregon, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a Class 2 misdemeanor. Felony charges were dismissed.

Police estimated the men caused more than $15,000 of damage to a home on Walton Creek Road in April by breaking windows, doors and appliances, and destroying carpet, walls and fixtures.

Gatrell and Hafner agreed to a tentative sentence of four years of supervised probation, during which time each will have to complete 240 hours of community service and pay $6,500 in restitution. If their probation is violated, they will face up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine on the misdemeanor charge.

The sentence is not final because Judge Michael O'Hara requested an investigation report from the probation department, for advice on whether any additional conditions should be added, before he accepts the plea.

The two other defendants in the case, Raymond Jay, 22, of Arizona, and Samuel Walsh, 21, of Fort Collins, accepted the same plea agreement at a Nov. 8 hearing.

The terms of the plea agreement were decided on at a joint meeting with the defendants, their lawyers, the District Attorney's Office and a representative of the property owner, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Heyl said.

The plea allows for probation to be terminated after two years, if all conditions have been met, community service completed and restitution paid, O'Hara said.

If the men were convicted on their original charges of felony criminal mischief, they would have faced up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, in addition to an unknown amount of restitution.

The four men are due back in court for final sentencing at 1 p.m. Feb. 1.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com


handyman 9 years, 5 months ago

12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines?!?!? That seems harsh. I think that most folks would agree that their actions were malicious and stupid, but isn't 12 years in prison more than a murder sentence?


kingsride 9 years, 5 months ago

If they get any time at all it will be minimal, and would probably be served locally and not in prison. First offense I would suspect probation ,community service and pay for costs of the damages. Real costs.


id04sp 9 years, 5 months ago

And all the other people who participated and got away with it now feel bulletproof.

Guess what? Rental housing for four workers just disappeared. It's not worth it. Mine is off the market. Say hello to weekly/monthly rentals instead.


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