Craig murder suspect appears in Moffat County District Court for advisement

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Leroy Fief

A Craig resident accused of murder appeared Monday in Moffat County District Court for an advisement hearing.

Leroy Fief, 48, of Craig, is charged in district court with one count of first-degree murder, a Class 1 felony. He is in custody at Moffat County Jail and is being held without bond, pending a proof evident hearing scheduled for Dec. 19.

Chief Judge Michael O’Hara presided over Monday’s proceedings. He explained to Fief his rights and potential penalties should he plead or be found guilty of the murder charge at trial.

According to Colorado Revised Statutes, the presumptive minimum sentence for a Class 1 felony is life in prison. The presumptive maximum is death.

According to the warrantless arrest affidavit, at approximately 12:20 a.m. Sunday, Craig Police Department officers were dispatched to Elk Head Apartments, 456 Yampa Ave., for an unknown disturbance.

A trooper with the Colorado State Patrol and deputies from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the call, the affidavit stated.

Upon their arrival, authorities encountered Fief and his wife standing in the parking lot between Elk Head Apartments and Mathers’ Bar. A third individual, 43-year-old Craig resident Shane Arredondo, was lying on the ground and appeared to be the victim of an assault, according to the affidavit.

Fief approached one of the responding officers and said he stabbed Arredondo, according to the affidavit.

Fief was placed under arrest as law enforcement officers began first aid until EMS technicians arrived. Arredondo was transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig where he was later pronounced dead, according to court records.

Fief and his wife were transported, separately, from the scene to the Moffat County Public Safety Center. During a Sunday morning interview with law enforcement officers, Fief said the alleged altercation stemmed from a Dec. 6 incident in which he observed his wife’s cell phone contained a voicemail message and several text messages from an unknown male individual, according to the affidavit.

Fief confronted his wife about the messages. She responded that nothing inappropriate was happening, according to the affidavit.

At about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Fief left home for Trapper Mine where he works as a heavy equipment operator. It was his first rotation back on the night shift. At about 10:30 p.m., after trying to reach his wife by phone several times, Fief told his boss he had to attend to a family emergency at home, according to the affidavit.

About 10 minutes later, Fief arrived at his house to find his wife wasn’t home. He said he grabbed a knife from a wooden block in the kitchen and went looking for her, the affidavit stated.

Around 11 p.m., Fief said he located his wife’s car in the parking lot on Yampa Ave. between Elk Head Apartments and Mathers’ Bar. Fief pulled his truck into the lot and first looked for his wife at Mathers’ but was unable to find her. Fief said he returned to his truck and sent his wife several messages from the parking lot during the course of the next hour, according to the affidavit. His wife never responded.

Fief told law enforcement officers he witnessed his wife exit a unit at Elk Head Apartments at about 12:10 or 12:15 a.m. with a then-unidentified male, Shane Arredondo. The two allegedly embraced and kissed outside her driver’s side door, according to the affidavit.

Fief exited his truck, reportedly with his knife in hand, to confront Arredondo. During the interview, Fief told officers he thought he stabbed Arredondo four or five times in the ensuing confrontation.

After the incident, Fief said he told his wife to call for help. He was walking from the parking lot toward Yampa Avenue when law enforcement officers arrived, at which point he put his hands up and was taken into custody, according to the affidavit.

After the interview law enforcement officers learned Arredondo was pronounced dead at TMH. They escorted Fief to Moffat County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to the affidavit.

On Monday, O’Hara ordered that Fief not tamper with any witnesses or victims in the case; control or possess a firearm or other weapon; or consume alcohol or other substances.

Fief also is governed by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, O’Hara ordered, and may have consensual contact only with his wife.

Fief is represented by Sheryl Uhlmann, deputy state public defender out of the Steamboat Springs regional office.

Brett Barkey, 14th Judicial District Attorney, is prosecuting Fief.

Although it is customary for felony cases to begin in Moffat County Court, Barkey requested a direct file to district court, which was granted Monday by O’Hara.

Fief is scheduled to return to district court at 8:15 a.m. Dec. 19 for a status conference. A bond hearing may also take place immediately following.

Fief’s first preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Jan. 4.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, back in medieval times when a wife was the husband's property then he might have a defense.

In the modern world where women are legally recognized as being persons then this is almost the definition of premeditated murder.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

A world-class scumbag. Glad he's off the streets, but murder's a high price to pay to secure the public from a cockroach like him.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

He'll cry temporary insanity, settle for manslaughter, and be back among us in six years.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Rhys,

This DA loves to overcharge and there are few enough murders around here that I think there is a greater chance the DA will go for a death sentence.

Since the DA no longer has to worry about petty pot cases then he might have the time to try to win a death penalty trial.

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James Earley, MCSE 1 year, 9 months ago

If two wrongs don't make a right, where does that leave us with the death penalty? I guess it's an eye for an eye kind of thing which I never really understood.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Scott -- This is a crime of passion, not a serial murder. Out in six.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Rhys,

On the off chance that you are being serious - leaving work, coming home getting a knife and then searching town to find her car and then waiting would appear to be grounds to charge premeditated murder.

Aggressive DA can probably find other aspects of the situation to make it a death penalty case.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

James -

It's not about making anything “right”, it's about penalizing undesirable behavior. The “two wrongs don't make a right” pretense can be equally and just as disingenuously applied to any imposed sanction. Two wrongs don't make a right, so cops should never arrest anyone for any crime; I shouldn't shoot an intruder who forces his way into my home.

The moral implications of the death penalty is a separate discussion.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

More amateur prognostication by idealistic sideliners; I repeat, every jailhouse lawyer I ever met had a better clue than the dribble espoused here. The Pilot's take is one thing; when the defense paints the picture of the poor white working man, driven to lunacy by the Latino interloper -- and remembering where we are -- manslaughter, maybe 2nd degree murder, some anger-management classes, and -- given good time -- out in six. Eight at most.

Meth dealers get more time than murderers, in every state.

I continue to be amazed at the ignorance feigning expertise is such matters.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Aren't you guys being a bit judgemental? This guy might just have "different values" than you. After all wasn't it that outdated God dude who said "Thou Shalt Not Murder" ???? Careful, someone might call you "haters".

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jerry carlton 1 year, 9 months ago

The Bible also said "Thou shalt not comit adultery." and "The wages of sin is death."

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Mark,

Murder is an obvious crime in any ethical or moral system because the offender has taken away the victim's opportunity to life.

The simple ethical test of reversing the situation to see if the inverse is also acceptable also argues that murder is a crime. It makes no sense to have a society in which the way to stay alive is to murder everyone else first.

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

rhys He can't be that poor, those equipment operators make about $25 a hr and get a lot of OT and I'm sure his lawyer won't play the race card. The race card is played by stupid people with below average IQ's. Martin Luther King never played that card and was always right and got a lot done. The RAZA NAZI's out in California who think they own that state hurt their cause with that BS. Leroy should have stayed at work he already new what was up and she was likely with someone when he met her. Women are hard to find in this valley and that is what you deal with living here. Its best not to get serious. However he will get off easy and not get the chair. However he should get Death for being stupid.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

But it makes perfect sense (to some) to have a society where the way to have property is to plunder it from everyone else first... Hmmmmm?

I still say you are being judgemental, using "outdated right-wing religious decrees from ancient history" . No place for that drivel in a modern sophisticated world.

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