Steamboat Springs The man who admitted in Routt County Court on Wednesday that he stabbed a teenager’s hand during a fight April 4 at Bud Werner Memorial Library has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Adam Huber, 40, agreed to a deal negotiated by his attorney, Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle. Huber pleaded no contest to misdemeanor third-degree assault. The District Attorney’s office had originally charged Huber with felony second-degree assault.
Exactly what took place April 4 at the library will not come forth in a criminal trial. After talking to witnesses and those involved in the incident, police believed three teenage boys were being “loud, obnoxious and inappropriate” on the balcony near a windowsill where Huber was resting. Huber confronted the boys about their behavior calmly, according to witnesses, and it escalated into a fight involving two of the boys and Huber. Huber was arrested after stabbing one of the boys in the hands and has remained in jail.
Uhlmann and Prindle said they chose to compromise because the case presented challenges for both sides.
“It eliminates the risk,” Prindle said.
People convicted of a Class 4 felony such as felony second-degree assault face a minimum two-year prison sentence. Uhlmann said she would have argued that Huber stabbed the boy in self-defense and that Huber does not have a history of violence.
With the six-month sentence, Huber will get credit for the time he has served in jail, and an 18-month protection order will bar Huber from having contact with the teens. Huber will be able to have contact with the teens if they choose to participate in what lawyers called a restorative justice session. As part of the deal, Huber agreed to participate in the session, the likes of which are used frequently in larger Colorado cities but have not been used in criminal cases in Routt.
Prindle described the restorative justice session as a way for those involved to have a civil discussion about what happened, why it happened, what impact it had on the community and what could be done differently to keep something similar from happening. The details of the session still are being worked out, but Uhlmann said it would be paid for in part by the public defender’s office and would encompass a mediator, library officials, the teens if they choose to participate and Huber.
“The victim can say, ‘This is what you did to me, and this is how it impacted my life,’” Prindle said.
Routt County Judge James Garrecht acknowledged that the restorative justice session is used in other courts but that it would be a new practice here.
“A lot of people who are believers in the restorative justice system swear by it,” Garrecht said.
He called the agreement reasonable.
“It may not be what I would have done, but nonetheless, it’s reasonable,” Garrecht said.
The 14-year-old boy who was stabbed was in the courtroom with his mother.
Before accepting the plea agreement, Garrecht asked if the boy’s hand was expected to fully heal. The boy’s mother said it was and showed Garrecht the scars on the boy’s hands.
The mother and the boy said they supported the plea agreement. The boy also said he intended to participate in the restorative justice session.
Huber also addressed the court during Wednesday’s hearing. He told Garrecht he did not want to stab the boy.
“I’ve never been choked that hard in my life and couldn’t get away,” Huber said. “I wish there was some way to get out of it without cutting him.”
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com