Steamboat man gets 90 days in jail for role in downtown fight

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Samuel James Warren

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Jordan Daniel Rieber

— A Steamboat Springs man was sentenced this week to 90 days in jail for his involvement in a Dec. 11 fight in downtown Steamboat that led to another man being airlifted to Denver with a skull fracture.

Samuel James Warren, who was 21 at the time of the fight, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony menacing as part of a deal with the Routt County District Attorney's Office. In addition to the jail time, Warren was sentenced to four years of supervised probation, 400 hours of community service and ordered to pay $3,871.30 in fees and costs.

Warren was one of four men who were charged after the incident.

According to court documents, the fight started after Warren, his brother Luke Jonas Warren, cousin Taylor Michael Gey-Weiss and friend Jordan Daniel Rieber left a bar on Yampa Street.

According to court documents, witnesses reported it actually was the eventual victims who started the fight at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. Witnesses said brothers Thomas and Patrick Murphy were antagonizing Samuel Warren and making fun of his dreadlocks, and it was Patrick Murphy who threw the first punch. Rieber, Warren’s friend, admitted to police that he hit one of the Murphy brothers while trying to defend Warren.

“It became very clear that the Murphy brothers were the ones that started the altercation,” said attorney Charles Feldmann, who was representing the Warren brothers.

During the fight, Thomas Murphy suffered a skull fracture and was flown to a Denver hospital. Patrick Murphy suffered facial injuries that required stitches.

The Murphy brothers never were arrested or charged, and they told police a different story.

After a conversation with the four men started “going the wrong way,” Patrick Murphy said, he tried to flag down what he thought was a police car. It wasn’t, and he said that was when he turned around and saw Samuel Warren punch his brother in the head, knocking him to the ground. When Patrick Murphy tried to go to his brother’s defense, he said, he also was punched in the head and knocked to the ground, at which point he curled into the fetal position while the other men kicked him.

Feldmann contends there was no evidence that the kicking occurred.

Rieber was charged with two counts of second-degree assault. He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. On Oct. 23, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail, two years of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service and $1,788 in fees and costs.

The District Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against Gey-Weiss and Luke Warren in exchange for them agreeing to testify against Rieber at a trial, which never took place.

Feldmann said that because the charges were dropped against Samuel Warren’s younger brother and cousin, Warren thought he should take responsibility for his role and take the plea deal.

“That became a pretty easy decision for him to make,” Feldmann said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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