Police: Steamboat Springs man tried to kill wife
Steamboat resident faces attempted murder, assault charges
March 4, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Bail has been set at $500,000 for a Steamboat Springs man accused of trying to kill his wife Thursday night.
William "Billy" Gustav Klett, 44, appeared by video conference Friday before Routt County Judge James Garrecht. Fourteenth Judicial District Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle argued for the high bail because he thought Klett posed a threat to his wife and to himself.
According to an affidavit filed with the court, Klett was at his home at 1459 Robert E. Lee Lane on Thursday night despite a restraining order forbidding him to have contact with his wife, who came home at about 7:30 p.m. Klett told his wife he had no place to sleep, and she agreed to let him sleep in a downstairs bedroom.
Klett came to the upstairs bedroom where his wife was staying, the affidavit states. When Klett was told to leave, he grew angry and started yelling at his wife, according to the affidavit. Klett would not let his wife leave the bedroom, and at one point, she opened a bedroom window and yelled for help. She was kept in the room for about 30 minutes but was able to escape when Klett got distracted, according to the document.
Steamboat Springs police reported that Klett followed his wife downstairs, knocked her down and "repeatedly smashed her face and head into the ground." Klett also choked his wife and told her multiple times, "I'm going to kill you," the affidavit states.
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A doctor later would determine that Klett's wife had suffered an orbital floor fracture, scalp and facial contusions and neck abrasions. She was treated and released from Yampa Valley Medical Center.
At about 10 p.m., a neighbor called police and said she heard a woman yelling and screaming from the home and then the lights went out. Sgt. Sam Silva and officer John McCartin arrived at the home and tried to talk with Klett, who was slowly driving his car in the driveway. McCartin reported that he could smell alcohol on Klett. When McCartin opened the driver's side door, Klett sped away, and Silva had to jump to avoid getting hit, the affidavit states.
Police saw Klett pull on to Mount Werner Road but then lost him. When police contacted Klett by cell phone, Klett said he was going to kill himself using exhaust from his vehicle. Police located Klett on Eagle Glen Drive and found that he had attached a garden hose from his tailpipe and it was running into his car, according to the affidavit. Police then took Klett into custody.
At Routt County Jail, Klett told police his wife had attacked him with a knife and he had to defend himself. Police reported that Klett had not suffered any injuries and that there was no sign a knife was used during the incident.
Klett was represented in court by Routt County public defender Sheryl Uhlmann. Uhlmann argued against the high bail and told the judge that Klett has ongoing mental health issues. Uhlmann did not return a phone call Friday afternoon seeking comment. Klett is next scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. March 16.
Prindle expected to file charges with the court Monday. He said charges would include attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or e-mail mstensland@SteamboatToday.com