Letter, audiotape recovered at Cash home
Officials continue investigation into Friday’s double shooting
June 15, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Among the items collected by Steamboat Springs police in their investigation of Friday's double shooting are bullet fragments, a gun, a letter allegedly written by the suspected shooter, and a tape recorder that may contain the voice of Robert Cash, the man police say shot his wife and then himself.
Both Robert and Rhonda Cash were in a Denver hospital Sunday. No condition updates were available Monday.
Police also said Monday that charges against Robert Cash could be filed while he remains in hospital care.
Police suspect that Robert Cash shot his estranged wife and then himself Friday at their home on Iris Lane. Police served a search warrant at the house Friday afternoon, and Detectives Capt. Bob DelValle said officers collected forensic evidence, a gun, bullet fragments, a letter and a tape recorder.
DelValle said investigators think Robert Cash wrote the letter, which details the couple's marital problems. The letter did not mention suicide, DelValle said, and police are working to verify that Robert Cash is in fact its author. The Police Department is not releasing all the details of the note because it could prejudice potential jurors in the county, he said.
According to a petition for divorce filed in April, the couple had been separated since Feb. 23.
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DelValle said a tape found in the audio recorder has a man's voice on it, but detectives are seeking an additional warrant before they listen to it in its entirety.
DelValle does not think the investigation will be a lengthy one.
"This particular investigation, more than likely, will not be a long, drawn-out investigation," he said. "Unless something pops up that we're not aware of, at this time, it's pretty clear what happened and who did what, so it's not a big mystery case."
Rhonda Cash's testimony also will be important, he said.
"In a case like this where we obviously have a living victim who can testify, that's the major part of the case because the living person can say what happened," he said. "She was quite clear (the shooter) was her estranged husband."
One detail that could be important if the case goes to trial is where Robert and Rhonda Cash were during the course of the morning, something that could be proven by forensic evidence collected at the scene, DelValle said.
"The other evidence is basically evidence that substantiates what we know," he said.
Police think Robert Cash shot his wife at 6:30 a.m. Friday. Police were called to a request to check on Rhonda at about 9:30 a.m. after she didn't show up for work at Rabbit Ears Dental. As officers approached the door, they heard a gunshot. Officers waited for backup before entering the house. Once inside, they found Robert Cash in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest, and Rhonda Cash in the bathroom with a gunshot wound to her neck.
As of the last update available, Rhonda Cash was in serious condition, and Robert Cash's condition was described by his Steamboat Springs sister as "extremely critical."
Routt County Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said Monday that he's had daily contact with investigators and will proceed with charges once the investigation is done.
"We're kind of playing it by ear right now because of the seriousness of the injuries sustained by both parties," he said.
He said that it's up to police to decide when the investigation is complete, and the DA's Office is on no strict timeline.
"We would rely on the police to conduct whatever further investigation they felt was appropriate or required," he said.
Detective Dave Kleiber said it's not unusual for police to wait to see the outcome of the injuries to suspects and victims.
"It's not inconceivable, and there have been cases like this around the country, where the victims look like they'll do well and ultimately they don't, and that changes the nature of the charges," he said.
DelValle agreed but said police likely won't wait for a final prognosis before working with the District Attorney's Office to file charges.
"If he's hanging on (for a few months), more than likely we'll bring the case sooner, prior to a confirmed survival," he said.