No jail in demolition case

Men accused of $15,000 in property damage reach agreement


— The four men accused of causing significant damage to a rented Steamboat Springs home during an alleged demolition party last April avoided jail time with a plea agreement Friday in Routt County District Court.

Michael Gatrell of Ohio, Philip Hafner of Oregon and Samuel Walsh of Fort Collins, all 21, and Raymond Jay, 22, of Arizona, pled guilty to one charge each of criminal mischief, a Class 2 misdemeanor, in November 2007.

Police estimated the men caused more than $15,000 worth of damage to a home on Walton Creek Road in April 2007 by breaking windows, doors and appliances, and destroying carpets, walls and fixtures.

Judge Michael O'Hara accepted the terms of the plea agreement in court Friday. Each man received four years of supervised probation, during which they will have to complete 240 hours of community service and pay $6,500 in restitution.

While the probation department recommended jail time for the four men, O'Hara accepted the probation-only plea agreement agreed upon by the defendants, their attorneys, the District Attorney's Office and Jon Wade, owner of the damaged property. Wade appeared personally in court Friday to urge O'Hara not to give the men jail sentences.

"My objective from the start was to see that people owned up to what they've done and learned from it," Wade said. "The last thing I want is these guys doing hard time, because that doesn't serve society or them."

While the defendants admitted to causing some of the damage, as many as 80 people were present at the party, Wade said. While regrettable, it is understandable that things may have simply gotten out of hand, he said.

"These young men are not dangerous," said attorney Larry Combs, representing Jay and Walsh. "They're not malicious."

When Walsh addressed the court, he called the incident "the biggest mistake he's ever made."

The plea agreement allows for probation to be terminated after two years, if all restitution has been paid and community service hours completed.

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 restitution.

O'Hara rejected a request from Hafner's attorney, Adam Mayo, to remove the alcohol prohibition from his client's probation terms, since Hafner only consumed one beer the night of the party.

"It was poor judgment, no doubt, but it wasn't poor judgment fueled by alcohol," Mayo said.


thecondoguy1 9 years, 3 months ago

I just think the rest of us have been gouged and overcharged, Jon knows people who know people...............


Oscar 9 years, 3 months ago

It still amazes me that the inside of a home can be completely destroyed and the damage only amount to $15,000. These guys got off easy, as most criminals do in Routt County.


Snowhugger 9 years, 3 months ago

In no way do I support the actions of these young men, but Oscar ??? Do you know anybody who has put up with Routt County DA ? It is BS???? To say all criminals get off light in this county is not true!! I got it taken to me and I did far less then these guys did. These guys got a break, but the Steamboat DA is full of BS as well as half the lawyers and judges!! They all are in it together, don't fool yourself!! It is all about who you know and how much money you got!!!!!! The system is defunked!! RECALL THE DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


tmac62 9 years, 3 months ago

its not the DA bit the people that work for him iam with snowhugger i got lot worse for much less a recall will not work without cleaning the whole house


dave reynolds 9 years, 1 month ago

the-one its called bout I go over to your folks house and totally trash it


The_one 9 years, 1 month ago

Its amazing that all of talk as if you were there, you werent. You all talk as if you know us personally, you dont. We know people...yeah right were just guys right out of CMC, we have no money; and before you start by saying that our parents are paying for everything, that were the typical snotnosed, silverspoon college kinds that roll through your town you better get your facts straight before you start making threats towards us, before you start making judgements about our character. I, myself, am self supported & my parents have only helped me buy plane tickets so i can come back to Steamboat for court appearances.

Its very sad that a town we all loved is saying such bad things about us. Do you honestly think we wanted all this to happen? Do you honestly think that we planned a "demolition party" just to smite people? Thats ridiculous! What really happend that night was chaos that got out of control. We didnt incite a riot, it incited itself through nameless, faceless "Steamboat locals". The people i saw swinging hammers and putting objects through walls were people that were uninvited. They were locals, the locals that show up to every college party in town and claim that they have a right to be at these parties because they were born there. People like the guy who stabbed two of my roommates nearly killing one. People who call the cops & rat these parties out because they were asked to leave.


The_one 9 years, 1 month ago

The reason the chaos started was because, i believe, that the house looked already trashed. Well if you had ever set foot in the house while we were living there you would have notices all the art, posters and random pictures of friends and family on the walls. Those were covering up the many spots that had peeling paint, dirt smudges, holes and other stains on the walls. As far as the graffiti, yeah we did that, but we did that weeks, months and a whole year before the party. The piece i did in my room was there at least 3 months before we even knew we had to move out.

I am sorry, i am truly sorry form the bottom of my heart, soul & everything i hold dear to me for what happend. I am paying my debt and i think it is fair. 12yrs for all this? Yeah right, i dont doubt that if this went to trial you would have all convicted us and given us those 12yrs and that to me is sad because, apart from this incident, we never did your town wrong, not once. We served your town workin in resturaunts, bars, shops & hotels not just for the winter season but year round. We attened your social events and put up with the same nosy, annoying, snotnosed tourists you did.

I think the reason your all so pissed off is because all this occured when the town was selling itself out to rich, namless, faceless investors. We made your town look bad to them. For that im not sorry because i saw what Steamboat has become and i dont like it all. Half of downtown is gone and looks like Vail or Aspen. Its terrible what you have all allowed to happen. I loved that town because it was homey, snugg & felt like time had forgotten it. Now it looks like everyother ski town out there.

But what do you care, right. You all got your cash and are living happily, who can blame you, you took an opportunity to make some money and live more comfortable. I just hope that you all will get your facts straight before you judge someone you dont even know. The road of life is rocky and you will stumble too, so while you point your finger someone else is judging you. I know in my heart that im straight with the maker for what ive done and i know he's got my back from here on out. So say whatever you want about us. Call us criminals, deviants whatever we dont care. Nothing you can say will shake us, we stand solid as a rock. We are men who have accepted what we have done and moved on, why cant you?


ColoradoNative 9 years, 1 month ago

You sound real sorry kid. (sarcasm)

After reading the article I feel the 4 years of probation was justified. Personally I would have given you guys some jail time.

After reading your comments I think the judge should have thrown the book at your sorry ass. I'm judging you BY YOUR OWN WORDS NOW.

You admitted you started trashing another mans property long before the party even started and we're suppose to feel sorry for you?

You've just done your group a real favor by painting your group as a bunch of snot nose kids who think they can get away with criminal activities. Good luck getting a job in this town or ever being treated with any respect. spit

With your attitude I'm sure you'll end up in the jail system. Four years is a long time for someone to stay out a trouble with an attitude like you've shown on this forum.

Don't drop the soap.


ColoradoNative 9 years, 1 month ago


You expect us to feel sorry for you now since you just admitted you were already trashing the property before the party?

When I first read the article I felt that the penalty of 4 years probation, fines, and community service seemed fair but after reading your snide remarks I think the community was short changed.

I'm not sure which of the 4 criminals you are but I'll personally hold your comments against all four of you. Good luck finding a job or being respected in this town again.

With your attitude I'd be willing to bet that the 4 years of probation will get the best of you.

Don't drop the soap when it does.


ColoradoNative 9 years, 1 month ago

Whoops double post. The first one didn't appear right away.


meethinks 9 years, 1 month ago

The_one Not eveyone thinks you are horrible nasty young people! I know each of you and know that you are good people, situation got out of hand. You are young, consider it an expensive learning experience. a few of you worked with me for quite a while. You are good kids, you should be held accountable for any damage caused but you have done it... I know that you guys worked, had jobs and went to school. And Mommies and Daddys didn't pay for everything. Some of us still love you!!!!!


BoatMaster 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Native

You don't really own up to your own actions, and I would watch out if you are ever taken in front of your probation officer with a copy of these comments.

When you make the comment:

"For that im not sorry because i saw what Steamboat has become and i dont like it all. Half of downtown is gone and looks like Vail or Aspen. Its terrible what you have all allowed to happen. I loved that town because it was homey, snugg & felt like time had forgotten it. Now it looks like everyother ski town out there."

You are clearly transferring blame of your actions on others. If this is a game you are playing then you failed probation and need to go back to jail....

P.S. It is probably better that you don't post your opinions. It will not help you.


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